I shan’t dwell too much on this particular show, mainly because last night saw the resumption of the regular series – my review of which has already been posted on LAM. Still, if we do nothing else, at least let’s pay tribute to the slebs who gave of their time to take part.
First of these was Jimmy McKenna. Apparently he has been a regular on Hollyoaks for a couple of decades. Well done! Never having been a viewer myself I feel slightly better about not recognising him. I wasn’t a fan of Frost either, and apparently this was another regular gig for him. His subject – Frank Sinatra – was very much to my taste – in fact had it not been for the very last question of the round I’d have had perfection. Didn’t know that the great man’s last gig was in Japan. Still, although Jimmy didn’t do quite as well on this relatively gentle set, he scored a perfectly respectable 8.
I was no more familiar with Gillian Joseph than I had been with Jimmy McKenna. Gillian Joseph, it transpires is a newsreader on Sky – and according to the chat she had between rounds with John, she is usually on either very early, or very late. Well, I prefer to get my news from the BBC, don’t you know, so that’s my excuse. Gillian was answering on the Parables of the New Testament. My immediate thought was – that’s actually a much tougher subject than it looks on the surface. Anyone studying English Literature, especially Medieval English Literature, which was my big thing when I was at Uni, really needs to get at the very least a decent knowledge of all of these, and there are a lot more than you might think. My score of 7 matched Gillian’s, although she had some I didn’t and vice versa.
Dallas Campbell is probably best known for the BBC popular Science show Bang Goes The Theory, to which he graduated after presenting Channel 4’s The Gadget show. His specialist subject, the films of Werner Herzog offered me nothing after the first question about the star of Fitzcarraldo – even I knew that this was Klaus Kinski. That was the end of the round for me, but just the beginning for Dallas. He was offered another 11 questions, and he had all of them right. This gave him a perfect round of 12 from 12, and frankly, if Russell Kane who was due to go next couldn’t come up with something a bit tasty, then this was another show that would be over by half time.
Comedian Russell Kane has serious sleb Mastermind previous form. In 2011 he took part in one of the Children in Need Comedians only specials – and what’s more, he won. He scored 18 on the Life and novels of Evelyn Waugh. Well, he wouldn’t do that on Ernest Hemingway – the rounds are much shorter now, for one thing. It wasn’t a great round either, and Russell, a self-confessed Hemingway fan, scored just 5. No second trophy for the mantelpiece this time.
Well, ok - such is life. To be honest, this had the effect of making the GK rounds feel a little like a formality. Russell Kane added seven more to his total to finish level on points with Dallas – who had yet to go – but some way behind on passes. Gillian Joseph indulged in a little game of I get up earlier than you to do my show with John, before having a bit of a mare on her own GK round. She fell into a pass spiral early doors, and once having fallen beyond the event horizon never really extracted herself from it. She finished with 10. Jimmy at least did a little bit better. He managed to slowly and steadily build up his own score to 15. Well, I’m not saying that Dallas must have been counting his chickens when he sat down to his GK round only needing 4 correct answers, but it would have been a massive upset had he not got therm. Of course he did, although you have to say that it was a very nervy, unconvincing round of 6 that took him to 18 and the win. Well, alright, not the greatest GK round, but it doesn’t matter. A win is a win is a win – all you need is to be slightly better than the rest on the same show – everything else is just window dressing.