The last time we saw Katy Bateman was in 2013 when she offered us Red Dwarf as a specialist subject. She put up a good performance too, coming second in her heat with a total of 24. She’s a lady after my own heart, since having offered the wonderful Red Dwarf last time out, she offered us Doctor who 2005 – present last night. Now, I personally would prefer a round on classic Dr. Who – or even better, just the Tom Baker years, but nevertheless I managed 8 of these. Not as good as Katy, though. She raced through the round, only passing on the one, and finishing with 13.
Our second contender, John Wheeler, had also played in the same series as Katy. John reached the semi final via a repechage slot, having scored a fine total of 29 in his first round. During that first round he offered us a splendid specialist round in the shape of The Shipping Forecast. His round on Magna Carta for the semi didn’t go so well at all, and so there was a question to answer about how he would do on specialist last night. His round was The lost Rivers of London – which was another round guaranteed to make me sit up and take notice, bearing in mind I’ll always have a go at rounds about London. I managed 7 of these to take my total for the show up to 14. John did rather better, scoring 9, but at least 4 points behind the leader he would have a bit to make up in the GK round.
According to my records Bill Carey has not appeared on the show before. He was answering questions on the third round in a row to tickle my fancy – Brian Epstein. As a huge lover of the Beatles I again fancied my chances, and surpassed myself by getting into double figures on this round. Not as good as Bill, though. He displayed exemplary focus and technique to race through a set of fifteen questions, answering every single one of them correctly. That was one of the finest and most impressive displays on specialist that we’ve seen all series. It also meant that he was looking very much the favourite to go through.
Our final contender, well, our final contender was Michael Wright, and yes, you’ve guessed it, we last saw Michael in that same 2013 series. Back in that series Michael won his first round heat answering on The Hornblower novels. In the semi final he was narrowly beaten by series champion Aidan McQuade, when he answered on military aircraft of world war II. So last night Michael gave us the only specialist round that wasn’t really to my linking, with The Anglo Zulu War of 1879. I managed a couple, mainly through having watched Zulu too many times (Oi! Don’t chuck them blardy spears at me! – and – For God’s sake Ivor, sing something they like!) This took my total for the show to 26 – which is probably an unwikied record for me. Michael managed double figures, ending with 10 and 1 pass. A decent total, but 5 points is a massive gap to have to chase.
Now, going back to John Wheeler, when we last saw him in 2013 he put on GK rounds of 16 in the first round, and 13 in the semi – seriously good rounds. When you looked at his round last night you could see how he did it – he answered very quickly, didn’t hesitate, and tried very hard not to pass. The problem was that this particular set of GK questions just really did not suit him. Which is not to say that 10 is not a decent score, because it is. However it wasn’t as high as his previous rounds, and a total of 19 would not be enough to put Bill into the corridor of uncertainty.
Michael Wright scored 15 in his first round in 2013, and 9 in the semis- and remember that semi final rounds are shorter. He had a smile on his face throughout the round, and seemed to be enjoying the experience, and that’s definitely something I can respect. Like Michael before him, he managed double figures, and 10 was a decent return. Still, it only raised the bar to 20, and that was just not going to be enough.
Now, playing the same comparison game with Katy, back in 2013 she scored 10 on GK. This was rather put into shadow by the fact that in the same show Didier Bruyere scored 16 to overhaul a significant lead on specialist. If she could improve on this slightly to set a target in the mid 20s, then that could at least place Bill within the corridor of uncertainty and give her the chance of a win. For a while it looked as if she might do that as well. However the last minute or so was pretty tortuous for her, and a run of passes put paid to her chances of double figures. All of which she took with good humour, acknowledging that she should have known a few, although contradicting John Humphrys when he suggested that she should have known the Arctic Monkeys. Good on you for that, Katy. She scored 8 for 21.
For Bill, then, the target was 21 and few passes, or six correct answers. It’s not a huge ask, but even so that chair can do things to you, and so it was something of a relief to see him set about accumulating points steadily. He was there or thereabouts by halfway, and in fact scored double the amount of points needed, 12, to take his final score to 27. That’s a good score, and it should be noted that he defeated three former contenders in the show, two of whom are semi finalists. A very good performance – good luck in the semis.
|Katy Bateman||Doctor Who 2005 - Present||13 - 1||8 - 5||21 - 6|
|John Wheeler||Lost Rivers of London||9 - 2||10 - 2||19 - 4|
|Bill Carey||Brian Epstein||15 – 0||12 - 3||27 - 3|
|Michael Wright||The Anglo-Zulu War of 1879||10 - 1||10 - 1||20 – 2|