Saturday, 12 November 2016

Mastermind: Round One: Heat 18

The BBC did an odd thing last night. Unless I’m very much mistaken they swopped Mastermind with Newsnight. Which was actually fine by me for once, since the later time fit better in with last night’s schedule.

So, the first of last night’s staying up late contenders was Jon Clatworthy. Jon was answering on the islands of Scotland – and answering pretty well, it might be said. He was probably kicking himself for missing the Robert the Bruce question, even though that one was really only tangentially about the islands. This was my best round of the night as I managed 8 of these from the safety of the Clark sofa. Generally I didn’t have a dreadful night, since I managed at least one correct answer on each of the specialists.

Right, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the late Laurie Lee, which is something I doubt that he ever lost any sleep over. So I’m not really in a position to comment much n the difficulty of Lena Gazey’s round on the writer of “Cider with Rosie” and other works. It was one of those rounds where the contender obviously knows their stuff, but never quite managed to post a really competitive score upon the board, and this was a shame. I’ll come back to that point.

I was pleased with myself for knowing that Lester Piggott had ridden Red Rum in a couple of races, and a couple more of the gentlest questions in Kevin Baker’s round took me to 4. This paled into insignificance against Kevin’s 11. I do like to see a contender having covered pretty much all of the bases in a specialist round, and yes, ok, this wasn’t quite a perfect round, what with the 2 passes. Still, it was a good ‘un, and it put Kevin into contention for the win.

Talking of perfect rounds, this was exactly what Alan Morgan gave us in his round on the Films of David Fincher. I loved Benjamin Button, although others of his films I haven’t been quite so enamoured of, and I only scored a couple. Alan, though, did what we all dream of doing in a specialist round, listening to each and every question, and providing the correct answer. It wasn’t quite an express round, and so it meant that he had a lead of 1, having scored 12. Nonetheless, a very impressive display.

Right, let’s go back to Lena. Now, ok, I have made the point that I feel that in most heats the GK rounds have been a bit gentler than in previous series, and I felt this agin last night. For all that though I felt Lena’s 15 was actually a great round. I think that with the GK rounds the way that they are a halfway decent quizzer should be able to get a dozen. 15 though, even on an easier round, is quite a bit harder to achieve. You could hear that this is the case through the respect in John’s voice when he announced Lena’s score. It’s just such a shame that she was starting the round 4 points behind Alan. Still, at least it was a score that made a passage through the corridor of doubt into a necessity for the other three.

Jon looked for much of the round as if he just might do it. With about 30 seconds to go he was just a few short of the line. However the brakes came on at this point. A run of questions he didn’t know left him languishing on 20. So Lena had overhauled one of the leaders. Were we going to see something very unusual?

Well, no. I liked Kevin’s technique answering his specialist questions, and the same technique ensured that he scored the 13 that he needed to take the outright lead. A salutary lesson – he was asked who played the lead witch in the film version of Roald Dahl’s “The Witches” and passed, then when given the answer said that he thought that was the answer, and even John could not resist telling him that he should have said it – the point being that if you always say an answer you have no ore to lose than if you pass, and potentially you could be right.

So the target was clear for Alan Any score better than 13 and 3 passes and he’d win. Now, you couldn’t say that he looked as if he’d do it easily during the round, but he never looked as if he wouldn’t either. In the end he accrued a very respectable 14 to put daylight between himself and the pack. Well, played, sir, and well played all – an enjoyable show, and it’s nice to see all 4 contenders managing to get into the 20s.

The Details

Jon Clatworthy
The Islands of Scotland
Lena Gazey
Laurie Lee
Kevin Baker
Red Rum and Ginger McCain
Alan Morgan
The Films of David Fincher


Kev Baker said...

How do I post?

Kev Baker said...

Hi I am the said Kevin Baker. Just read your excellent blog as I do weekly. It was my second time on the show (previously Sir Ian Botham in Sept 2012. I enjoyed your review then as ever.

All four of us had been on the show before so
it was a good line up. On my Red Rum Ss I should have got Gillam but flashing in my mind was Tommy Stack also trained Red Rum and I knew he could not be the answer again. The other one was a tough question. I had seen the answer but hard to anticipate what may arise.

On to Gk. Yes I do think they are not as hard as before but also I think tbat as we get older and learn more facts which were hard to get once are now much more easy to recall.

Both my Gk rounds have been blighted by repeated splits on 50.50 guesses between right and wrong answers. know which way!

Really appreciate the blog and comments! Top punditry!

Londinius said...

Hi Kevin

Thanks for taking the time ad trouble to post and for your kind comments about the blog. Well played - two good rounds, and in a weaker heat you would have won - that's just the lack of the draw, I look forward to your next appearance.

Jack said...

Didn't Mastermind always used to be on at that time of night in the old days with Magnus? I seem to recall finding an old BBC1 video online trailing Mastermind for about half ten.

Londinius said...

God Question Jack. It originally started late, and then it benefited from a Leslie Philips sitcom which was a bit smutty falling foul of Mary Whitehouse, and so it was moved to the slot just before Top of the Pops (or just after, I forget) on a Thursday evening where it remained throughout my childhood, before it moved to Sunday evenings.