Thursday, 10 August 2017

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 2

Right, let the catch up begin. I didn’t actually get to see this heat when it was broadcast, as I was in Spain, but now that I’ve returned I’ll give you the benefit of my opinion.

Ian Dunn was making a quick return to the show after last year’s first round appearance. Ian was answering on the radio show “Bleak Expectations” last year – and very well he did too. In this year’s heat he picked on the topic of the 4 (synoptic) Gospels. We last saw these as a specialist subject back in 2008, when Kathryn Price scored an impressive 14. Ian’s score, sadly, was half that. Maybe I’m wrong, but looking at him as he answered in several cases I formed the distinct impression that he was having one of those rounds when the answers just won’t jump off the tip of your tongue. 

By way of contrast we had Christine Quigley’s round on Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam novels. I’ll be honest, the only one I’m at all familiar with is “Oryx and Crake”, and that one not much. So I didn’t trouble the scorer on this particular set. Christine, on the other hand, produced a perfect round of 15. Now, that, ladies and gents is how you prepare for a specialist round. You can’t expect to get a great score without at least knowing your subject inside out. It looked to me as if Christine knew hers up and down and side to side as well. Fantastic performance. 

Now, let’s think about Colin Atkin’s specialist round for a moment. Some might say that he was tempting fate by taking World Flags. Why? Well, National Flags of the World was the subject which yielded the all time Mastermind record score of 23, for Jesse Honey in his heat of the 2010 Champion of Champions series. Well, nobody is going to get 23 on a specialist round nowadays, with the length of questions. However I did think that Colin might well have been kicking himself a little with his round of 9, having let several gettable ones pass by. 

So to Simon Cottee, and the colour films of Danny Kaye. Here’s a funny thing. I watched a lot of Danny Kaye films when they were on telly when I was a kid, and I thought all of his films were in black and white. Then I realised that we only had a black and white telly when I was a kid. Enough of such nonsense. Simon too looked as if he maybe missed a couple he might have had on another occasion, reaching 9 as well. Totally off the point, I was banking on the flags round to break last week’s aggregate of 10, which it did, and when you added my score from the flags round to 4 from the Gospels and 3 from Danny Kaye I set the new mark at 19. Getting back to the point, with a lead of 6, Christine Quigley pretty much had one foot in the semis already.

I felt for Ian when John told him that there was plenty of time left just before the start of his round. It kind of leaves you in no doubt that you didn’t do brilliantly with your specialist round, does that, however kindly it’s meant. Maybe it put Ian a little off his game as well - last year he scored a competitive 11, whereas this year he put 8 more on the board. Some nights, Ian, it’s just not your night. Hard lines. Colin, now, started 6 points behind Christine’s score. Being realistic, you need to set a target of as close to double figures as possible in order to force other contenders to traverse the corridor of doubt. Colin never really looked like doing that. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it was a gritty, battling performance, and any double figure round is a good one, but a target of 6 for a win was never going to be enough.

So it fell to Simon Cottee to try to raise the bar. What we got was a perfectly respectable round of 9, but again, in terms of raising the tension for Christine’s round yet to come, I’m afraid it couldn’t do it. So Christine had the luxury of knowing she only needed to answer 6 questions. Never having been in that position in any of my own appearances I can’t tell you if that would make you more relaxed, but the first 2 minutes of Christine’s round were pretty good. Then, surprisingly, she fell into a pass spiral for the last 5 questions. None of which mattered, since she’d already set the highest GK total for this show, and passed the target some time previously. Well played Christine – good luck in the semi finals. 

The Details

Ian Dunn
The 4 Gospels
7
0
8
2
15
2
Christine Quigley
Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam novels
15
0
12
6
27
6
Colin Atkin
World Flags
9
3
11
3
20
6
Simon Cottee
The colour films of Danny Kaye
9
2
9
3
18
5

2 comments:

Skiffle.cat said...

I applauded Caroline's perfect SS round. She did a brilliant job of preparing for her round, which is a distinct skill, I believe. I really enjoyed most of my specialist rounds; listening to the question, pulling up the answer as the question is being asked, mentally checking, and then bouncing the answer straight back. You develop a rhythm with John Humphrys and it becomes a friendly duel.

It's a clear indication that questions have, on the whole, got longer. Caroline answered fluently but was only asked 15 questions, where I was asked 18.

Londinius said...

Hi Gillian
Yes, you're dead right about preparation. I hope that it doesn't come out in the reviews themselves, but I do sometimes get frustrated when I get the distinct feeling that the contender hasn't prepared properly for their specialist round. My first example of this was when a fellow contender on one of my shows told me that he hadn't even finished reading his book on his subject. Now, there was no way I was going to say what I was thinking so I merely made encouraging noises. However in my head I was screaming - Book?! Singular?! You have only used one book in preparation?! Which you haven't even finished reading?! And that's all you've been doing, reading it?! - and so on. Personally, I feel that your application for the show is a kind of promise that you will do your very best to prepare thoroughly, and if you don't, you're welching on the deal AND you're preventing someone else from appearing in this series.