"I have noticed some comments about "dumbing down" of the questions in several places this year. When I was at the studio one contestant made an interesting observation, that it takes as much brain power to understand the machinations of a Coronation Street or Eastenders as it does The Odyssey but because soap operas are understood by the masses and not the elite they are seen as dumb.
That person went on to say that a persons general knowledge is based on the media they read or watch, if you listen to Radio 1 you will know who Mark Ronson is but may not understand the Booker prize. If you listen to a Radio 4 it could be the other way round.
I thought you may appreciate these comments and may like to pass them on to your readers."
This is the reply that I made about the points that Keith raises: -
"'Dumbing down' is not a phrase which I like, and I don't think that it is one that I have consciously used. It is true, and I have been quite open about this, that I do feel that the general knowledge rounds have been made easier in this season. This is not a criticism, implied or otherwise, about the individual contenders. You can only answer the questions that you are asked. But it is based upon my many years of watching the show, and several years of writing about it.
Forgive me if I have misunderstood your comments, but it seems to me that you are linking this to the highbrow/lowbrow debate - which if I might observe is a related but slightly different issue. I have no issue with highbrow/lowbrow/middlebrow questions being asked. In fact, Mastermind has always used a pretty wide range. It is not the subjects of the questions being asked with which I take issue, but the level. What I do think, and what I have said is that I believe that the questions have been in the general knowledge round more gentle than in previous years. Not because there are more 'lowbrow' questions, I hasten to add, but because a large number of questions being asked are what I feel that a person with a quite decent rather than good general knowledge should know, or should be able to guess.
Case in point - personally I think that the question - in which European capital city would you find Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports? - is too easy for a Mastermind General Knowledge round.
Another example - a recent question asked where in the body the masseter is. That's a fair and reasonably testing question. However the question went on to add that the word masseter comes from a Greek word meaning to chew. So what else could it possibly be than the jaw?
As you know, everything that I write is purely my own opinion. I always invite people to feel free to disagree with me, and to dismiss my opinion as rubbish - which it probably is. But I'm afraid that it is the way that I feel about it."
So basically - would anyone else like to express an opinion? Over to you.