Friday, 15 January 2016

Mastermind - 1st round heat 15/1/16

I’m asking myself whether Stephen Wilson, the first of tonight’s contenders, is the same Steve Wilson who took part in the first round last year. Maybe so, maybe not. Ruth Green certainly appeared before, in the 2012 series. We’ll say more about Ruth later.

So, then, Stephen Wilson gave us Scottish pop music 1980 – 1999. Now, I don’t criticise any member of the public (as opposed to celebrity) who has the guts to sit in the chair, and I don’t criticise the production team , because I know just how hard they work to make the show. Stephen produced a superb 14 from 14, a terrific performance. He can only answer the questions he’s asked, and he did, every single one. Only. . . well, look. It’s very rare that I think a specialist round seems noticeably easier than average, but I did think a significant number of the questions on what seemed a rather short space of time – 19 years – were the sort of thing I’ve been asked in general quizzes before. Not all of them, but put it this way – I was around in the 80s, but had lost all interest in pop music long before 1999, and I had 8 of them. Which is no reflection on Stephen at all, since all you can do is get a perfect round on the questions you’re asked, and that’s exactly what he did.

On a similar note, Mastermind virgin Rob Coley offered us Aston Villa from 1947 to the present date. OK – 69 years is a very significant portion of time, and maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t help thinking that in the past, you might have ended up doing the whole history of a football club, not just the post war history. Again, this is no reflection on Rob, he can only answer what he’s asked, and that he did well with 10. You couldn’t help thinking though that h was going to need a great GK round to bridge the 4 point gap.

A more traditional SS round, the History of the GDR, was offered by Dennis Tomlinson. Dennis kind of gave the impression that he was starting to realise that there were aspects of his subject he hadn’t covered in his preparation, or that’s the message I got from the expression on his face at times during the round. Now, in the context of this series, the 9 that Dennis managed was perfectly respectable. However, a five point gap is extremely difficult to bridge, especially if there’s more than one person you have to overtake.

Last time out Ruth scored 24, coming second in her heat. Back then she answered on the coast to coast walk. Tonight she was offering the life and work of Clarice Cliff, beloved of a whole slew of popular antiques programmes. I congratulate her for having such different subjects. I took 5 SS rounds in total and one of the things I’m proud of is that they were such diverse subjects. Back in 2012 Ruth scored an excellent 15 on SS. Tonight, she scored a 13, which I would argue in the context of the rounds we see in more recent years is every bit as good as her previous round.

Put yourself in my position at half time. I’m trying to assess who the most likely winner is. Do I think that the winner’s total will be 5 points higher than the second place? Do I hell. But Dennis Tomlinson returned to the chair, and produced the kind of GK round we haven’t seen for a while. Dennis might not have put in an absolutely top class performance n SS, but he more than made up for it with his specialist round. I’m going to stick my neck out here, and venture the opinion that Dennis has probably done some quizzing in his time. I say this not just because of the correct answers he gave, but also because of the wrong answer he avoided. I hope that makes sense. 14 is a serious GK score to reckon with. It took him to 23, and suddenly all bets were off. To beat him, all three of the others would need double figure scores.

Rob Coley had been one point ahead of Dennis after SS. All of which meant that he had to match him in order to take the outright lead. It was obvious by halfway that this wasn’t going to happen. A perfectly respectable if rather unspectacular round saw him score 8 to finish with 18.

I really don’t intend to dwell on the rounds that Stephen and Ruth underwent. Suffice it to say that the questions did not fall their way. Stephen finished with 18, and Ruth with 17.  Well, that’s Mastermind, folks. Thinking back to the old adage I mentioned last week, Dennis didn’t lose it on Specialist, and he won it on GK. And. . .maybe, just maybe, if he can find a blinder on specialist in the semi, and reproduce that form in GK, just maybe he might even find himself contesting the final. Well played, sir, and best of luck.


Stephen Wilson
Scottish pop music 1980 - 1999
14
0
4
4
18
4
Rob Coley
History of Aston Villa 1947 - Date
10
0
8
1
18
1
Dennis Tomlinson
History of the GDR 1949 - 89
9
1
14
4
23
5
Ruth Green
Life and Designs of Clarice Cliff
13
0
4
3
17
4

4 comments:

Gavin Tillman said...

A funny episode.

I think you're right about the Pop round. I got fair few and should have got a fair few more, which I might well have done if I'd prepared.

He did put in a stellar GK round though. But some of the GK rounds that came later seemed incredibly hard this week.

Paul Gilbert said...

Curiously on Ruth Green's first appearance in 2012, one of the other specialist subjects was Pop Music Of The 1980s.

On a similar theme, the episode aired on 18 December was won by Simon Alvey, with one of the other contestants taking The West Wing as their SS, exactly 4 years to the week after Alvey had won his heat in the 2011-12 series - with his subject being The West Wing!

Glad to see you back, David!

Michael Frankl said...

Yes, the GK rounds came out really oddly. And Dennis did really well with 14 on his GK. I scored 15 on GK in heat 5, but I would have got only 12 on Dennis's GK questions. Having lived in (West) Germany for several years, I also got 4 of his Specialist Subject questions, which is about 3 more than I normally get on anybody else's Specialist Subject. A friend, a Brit who lives in Germany, got 3 of them.

It is great to see you back, Dave. All through Nov and Dec I was checking the website, wondering whether I had the wrong link and googling Life After Mastermind to see whether I had missed something. You were sorely missed. Do please keep at it; we love to read your take on the programmes.

And I sympathise with your problems with the loud guys. Friends of mine have stopped going to pub quizzes because of all the cheating.

By the way, Simon Alvey was on Brain of Britain on 18 January. He came 2nd with 10 points, but he has a chance of reaching the semis as a highest-scoring runner-up.

Michael Frankl said...
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