Well, some won’t mind this at all, and some will, but the fact of the matter is that there were no fewer than three recidivists on this week’s show. Unless my Maths is mistaken – and that’s always a possibility – that gives us equal numbers of virgins and recidivists for the series as a whole. First of tonight’s reoffenders was Peter Russell. Peter last featured last year, when he featured in a brilliantly high scoring heat, being unlucky to come third despite scoring 27. That happened because despite scoring a brilliant 16 in the GK round, he was a couple of points off the pace in the specialist. So tonight he had obviously set himself the tactic of missing virtually nothing on the Rolling Stones. I’ve never been a huge Stones fan myself, but nonetheless my basic knowledge was enough to bring me 7 points on this round. As for Peter, well, he aced ever single question until the last one, mistakenly saying that Jagger quoted Keats rather than Shelley in the free concert in Hyde Park in 1969. Understandable, since the Shelley quote was actually written about Keats. This gave him 14, and he was certainly in the running for the win at the half way stage.
Our second recidivist was Sally Mabey. Sally is from Cardiff, but if our paths have ever crossed I’ve never been aware of it. Back in 2012 Sally was some way off the pace in her first round heat, when she answered questions on the Women’s Institute. In tonight’s show, well, in tonight’s show Sally was answering on the Bayeux Tapestry. Now, unless you’ve been a regular for some time you might not be aware, but the Bayeux Tapestry provided me with my best ever specialist round in the 2010 Champion of Champion’s series. Back then I scored 17, although the questions were noticeably shorter in those days. Now, alright, this was four years ago, but I was still intrigued to see how I would measure up. Pretty well, was the answer. For once I know enough about the subject to be able to speak with some authority, and there were a couple of questions she missed which was probably due to pressure rather than the difficulty of the question - the keys of Dinan being one example. Sally scored 11 – a good round – and from the comfort of the Clark sofa I managed 13.
The one virgin of this particular show was Stuart Skelly, our third contender. Stuart was offering us the TV series Mad Men. Now, in any specialist round the best thing you can do is to answer all the questions – preferably correctly. That’s exactly what Stuart managed to do. I’ve never watched the series so I can’t comment on the level of the questions themselves, but whatever the case you can’t do better than perfection.
John Beynon isn’t just a recidivist. He’s a two time Mastermind semi finalist, and was second to Iwan Thomas in the 2011 final of Brain of Britain. That’s some pretty serious previous form. His previous Mastermind performances have usually been characterised by meticulous attention to detail in his preparation for his specialist round, and tonight was no difference. Was it deliberate that the specialist subject Mad Men was actually followed by famous Mad Man King Ludwig II of Bavaria? Quite funny, anyway. John too posted a perfect round, although he managed to get one fewer question in his round, to finish on 14.
Sally Mabey was down among the wines and spirits, as it were, and she was first to return to her chair for the General Knowledge round. Ideally she was looking at posting about 14 to put everyone else into the corridor of uncertainty. She never really built the momentum to do that. She had a really rather nasty mid round pass spiral, and never recovered enough to take her score to a level which might give the other contenders some concern, answering 9 correctly to take her score up to 20 and plenty of respectability.
Peter Russell had clearly decided that he wasn’t going to pass in his GK round, and he did manage to come up with answers to every question. There were times during the round when he became a little becalmed, and on the surface, while 12 points for a total of 16 didn’t look as if it would give him a certain win, but it was certainly enough to give them pause for thought. Once people have to start chasing a total, then funny things can start to happen.
Bearing in mind the track record I’ve already mentioned you could have been forgiven for thinking that John Beynon should beat this total by a couple of clear points. To be fair, he might have done, but this wasn’t the most confident GK round I’ve seen him produce before now. He had one of those unfortunate instances of being styck in no man’s land by remembering the first name of the answer – Stanley – but not the second – Holloway. He couldn’t quite remember the name of Billy Cotton either on the last question – and this really mattered since as it was he ended with 25. So only Stuart Skelly could deny Peter the win. Well, he tried similar tactics, answering every question as quickly as he could. There were just a few too many that he didn’t know, though, and in the end, although he did manage to get into double figures, he stalled on 9 to finish with 24.
So well done, Peter! As for John, well, with 25 he is still on the repechage board, but there’s a lot of heats still to go, and I fear that he looks unlikely to make it a third semi final.
|Peter Russell||The Rolling Stones 1962 - 1982||14 – 0||12 - 0||26 - 0|
|Sally Mabey||The Bayeux Tapestry||11 - 1||9 - 7||20 - 8|
|Stuart Skelly||Mad Men||15 - 0||9 - 0||24 - 0|
|John Beynon||King Ludwig Second of Bavaria||14 - 0||11 - 1||25 – 1|