Here we are then, the penultimate show of the series, with 5 more contenders going head to head for the last place in the grand final next week. The form guide, such as it is, goes like this : -
Hazel Humphreys – 28 -4 (17)
Iwan Thomas – 27 – 4 (13)
Peter Russell – 26 – 0 (12)
David Greenwood – 25 – 5 (14)
Mike Foden – 21 – 6 (8)
Hazel put in an amazingly good GK round of 17 in her heat, and if she could approach anything like those standards in this show she’d certainly be in with a chance. Nobody is ever going to make a lot of money betting against Brain of Britain winner Iwan Thomas. Casting an eye down the field, David Greenwood’s 14 on GK in the first round looked quite tasty as well. Of course, I couldn’t help rooting for my friend Mike Foden, making his first appearance in the semi finals.
First up, then, was Iwan. I think that we can safely say that if you can get into double figures in your 90 second specialist round you are going to be very hard to beat in the GK round, especially if you have as good GK as Iwan does. He was answering on The Bodyline Series. This was a good specialist round, and there weren’t many wrong answers. A couple of long questions, and a couple of slightly slower answers limited Iwan to 8. Nothing wrong with that as a score, but there was daylight for others to come in above that.
I picked up three points on Iwan’s round. I picked up zilch on Peter Russell’s round on the Life and Work of Elizabeth David. Much of what you could say about Iwan’s round you could say of Peter’s. Looking at the form guide we could expect him to put in a good performance on GK. So 8 meant that he was by no means out of the running, but he was likely to have some work to do by the time he got there.
Next up was Mike. Now, Mike was answering on the life and work of Will Hay. I’m a bit of a Will Hay fan myself. I watched a lot of his old films when I was a kid, and being an Ealing boy myself I’m naturally proud of the fact that he made some of his films for Ealing Studios. Now, if you were expecting any questions about his most famous films – for example ‘Oh, Mr. Porter” and “The Goose Steps Out” you were to be sadly disappointed in this round. It just never quite went Mike’s way, and while 6 off 90 seconds is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, but it left him with a mountain to climb in the GK.
By contrast, David Greenwood’s round on “British Admirals of the Napoleonic Wars” went very much his way. Now, here’s a fact. Admiral Duncan pressganged my 4x great grandfather to serve on HMS Belliqueux in the Battle of Camperdown. Well, I say Admiral Duncan – I doubt he was actually the one who bopped him over the head as he was coming out of the pub in Dundee on New Year’s Day 1797, but it was on his orders. Funnily enough there wasn’t a question about this in David’s round. Ten of the questions which were asked he did answer correctly, though. Now that looked like a serious statement of intent.
Finally Hazel. The Life and works of Mary Shelley didn’t offer me a great deal. Yes, I know “Frankenstein” , in fact I’ve taught it on more than one occasion. Other works though – not so much. I reckon that there were quiet a few obscure ones in there, from what I know, so Hazel’s 8 looked a pretty good lash to me. All of which meant that at the halfway stage, probably only Mike was in a position where the odds were really against him, although that two point cushion of David’s was looking significant as well.
Mike’s an old quiz hand, and knows that all you can do when you’re doing your GK round and there’s other contenders to come after you is to give it a really good old lash, and to set a score which can at least put the others into the corridor of doubt. Mike produced a very good round too, and had 10 on the board with several questions still to go. He was unfortunate that a couple of tricky ones just halted his momentum in the last part of the round. Nonetheless he scored 11 off what wasn’t actually my favourite GK round of the night. The score to beat was now 17, and yes, alright, it’s not a score likely to get you into a final, but it is a score enough to make other contenders appreciate the size of the task ahead of them.
Iwan came next. In previous series we’ve seen Iwan rip a GK round to shreds, and if he was to do that again here, then the game could be as good as over. He did put in a good round, but not a round which would guarantee him a place in the finals. Maybe there were a couple of answers he might have had on another night, but as I was watching I couldn’t help thinking that 11 for 19 points might well leave him 2 or 3 short at the end of the contest.
Peter Russell, though, couldn’t match it. I feel a certain sympathy for Peter, since of the 5 GK rounds I found his to be the hardest, and would probably have had my lowest score on it. That’s just the luck of the draw. He managed 9 and no passes, but it left him a couple of points short of the lead. Hazel adopted the same strategy as she’d adopted in her GK round in the heats – answer what you know, guess what you don’t, and don’t let it worry you when you get one wrong. It’s certainly the best tactic you can use, I find. This brought Hazel 9 points as well, and she joined Mike and Peter on 17.
The task ahead of David was simple, then. 10 correct answers in two minutes, and he would be in the final. Anything in double figures off a 2 minute GK round isn’t easy, though, so there would have been no room for complacency. David started his round in a very calm and measured manner, and he kept this up throughout. All of which meant he put in the best GK round of the contest to earn 12, and take his total to 22. Very well done, sir, and best of luck in the final.
|Iwan Thomas||The Bodyline Series||8 - 0||11 - 3||19 - 3|
|Peter Russell||Life and Work of Elizabeth David||8 - 0||9 - 0||17 - 0|
|Mike Foden||The Life and Work of Will Hay||6 - 1||11-1||17 - 2|
|David Greenwood||British Admirals of the Napoleonic Wars||10 – 0||12 – 0||22 - 0|
|Hazel Humphreys||Life and Works of Mary Shelley||8 - 3||9 - 0||17 - 3|