Friday, 27 October 2017

Mastermind - Round One - Heat 13


For a couple of reasons Mastermind took me back in time tonight, and I promise I’ll explain why. Not yet, though.

Kicking us off tonight, then, was 2013 semi finalist Richard Chaney. Richard offered us one of my all-time favourite sitcoms, Porridge. I could wax lyrical about the acting of messrs Barker, Beckinsale, Mackay and Wilde, and the writing of Clement and LaFrenais. But I won’t. What I will say is that I was annoyed with myself to score only 10 on this round, one less than Richard. Now, I do know enough about Porridge to say that these were a difficult enough set, although I do think that they might well have asked the name of the series of Ronnie Barker pilots in which the first episode, Prisoner and Escort was broadcast. 

Well, anyway, at this rate it was a good start for a tilt at another 20+ specialist aggregate. My chances, though, were not helped by Sophie Starkey’s round on Peggy Guggenheim. Yes, there were a couple of pieces of low lying fruit in The Titanic and Yoko Ono – now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write – but that was about it for me. Sophie did a lot better than that. However, you really need to get double figures to give yourself a fighting chance in the GK round, and Sophie’s 8 always looked like it was going to leave her too much to do.

In the normal course of events, schoolteacher Eddie Alexander would have had the dubious benefit of support from the Clark sofa, however the circumstances were a little different tonight, as I’ll explain shortly. Nonetheless I was hoping he’d do well on his specialist round on the band Deep Purple. I never saw Deep Purple live, although I did see once Whitesnake, which band had more than its fair share of former Deep Purple members. As with Sophie, Eddie didn’t do at all badly, but just missed double figures with 9.

And so to our final contender, Derek Moody. Seeing Derek took me back 10 years to the 2007 SOBM. Why? Because Derek was runner up in the Grand Final, missing out on a tie break by a single point. I’ve written and spoken more than enough about that particular event, so I’ll say no more, other than that I was really, really , really hoping that Derek would go well. As indeed he did. In my answers to his questions I proved that I know nothing about Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles. I expected Derek to go close to a perfect round, since I’ve had first hand experience of how well and carefully he prepares his specialist rounds. This wasn’t quite perfect, but it was good enough to give him the joint lead with 11. 

Who would win, then? In terms of experience you’d have to have given it to Derek. Not only was he runner up in my Final, he had been stand-in for the final a couple of years earlier, after just narrowly missing out in his semi final. In 2013, though, Ricard had shown impressive GK form in his first round. Well, we’d come to that. Firstly, though, we had Sophie Starkey’s GK round. And a pretty good GK round it was, and at least gave her the satisfaction of having reached double figures in one of her Mastermind Rounds. Eddie Alexander, well, Eddie had been a point better than Sophie in the Specialist round, now he was a point worse in the GK. He scored 9, to also finish with 18 points. 

This brought us to the main event, as it were. Richard took the chair first, and while he never quite reached escape velocity he certainly maintained a steady momentum throughout his round, to add 13 to his total. Putting this into perspective, it meant that Derek was going to need to score 13 and no passes to force a tie break, or 14 to win outright. That’s a sizeable total, not easily achieved, and certainly enough to put you into the corridor of doubt. 

Not that you’d have known it from Derek’s first couple of answers. In fact, for the first minute or so he was well up with the clock. However, the wrong answers were starting to creep in. From this point onwards, in all honesty it became one of those rounds for Derek. More than once he was asked questions where you could see him narrowing options down to a couple of options, and zigging when he should have zagged – for example with Rodin’s Burghers of Calais instead of zagging with The Thinker. When thinks work out like that there’s nothing you can do. Derek took his score to 21.

At the start of this review I did say that there were two things which made this show a bit of a trip down memory lane. The second, then, was the rather extraordinary chat that John had with winner Richard after announcing the final scores. I can only suggest that for some reason this show was a bit short and required some padding. John probed Richard for his reasons for choosing Porridge. Richard, congratulations on reaching another semi final, and thank you for not providing the plug for the revived series of Porridge– starting immediately after the end of the show over on BBC1 – I have a feeling John may have been angling for just such a plug. All in all it was rather reminiscent of the excruciating inter-round chats we poor contenders had to suffer through in my era of the show – and that’s something we really don’t want to see coming back. 

The Details

Richard Chaney
Porridge
11
0
13
1
24
1
Sophie Starkey
Peggy Guggenheim
8
0
10
1
18
1
Eddie Alexander
Deep Purple
9
0
9
2
18
2
Derek Moody
Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles
11
0
10
1
21
1


13 comments:

claire slater said...

SOBM? Trying to work out acronym, all that Google can offer me are links to your blog over various years... As well as the school of Bible and missions

Londinius said...

Hi Claire
SOBM - Season of Blessed Memory. Specifically refers to 2007 (semis and Grand Final were broadcast in 2008) when I won.

Dan said...

“Why did you choose Porridge?”

“Because TV box sets are an easy way to ace the specialist subject round, John”

Londinius said...

Yes - I wonder how many times Fawlty Towers has been turned down as a subject for that very reason?

Dan said...

The only time I ever truly mastered a specialist subject, it was a box set. And it wasn’t even in English.

claire slater said...

Depends on how many episodes per series and how many series

Londinius said...

Yes, that's why I always fancied doing the Novels of Emily Bronte as a subject!

Mycool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
neil wright said...

I'm interested that you found the inter round chats with John in your programs to be "excruciating". Personally, I have always regretted not having that opportunity on my attempts. Explaining what the subject means to you and extolling it's virtues in front of a few million people, is a chance that doesn't come along very often.

And, of course, you can always say how you were interviewed by John Humphreys. Mind you, having heard what Michael Gove compared that experience to today, maybe that is not quite something to boast about.

Mycool said...

I was up against Richard Chaney in our heat in Mastermind 2014 (broadcast in 2013 as you say, Dave). He demolished my puny effort with 12 on his specialist subject (Life And Works Of Charles M Schulz) and 16 on GK. So I was surprised that such an experienced contender committed the beginner's error of passing on GK after the buzzer had sounded. That meant that Derek needed "only" 24 and no passes whereas, if Richard had given an incorrect answer (typically "John Humphrys"), Derek would have needed 25 to win.

Londinius said...

Hi Neil
Yes, I'm afraid that while I certainly didn't mind talking about the subject, I did always find that when I was in the chair, all I wanted to do was get on with the questions. Maybe I was being too competitive - but playing in a quiz was what I'd come for. Also, these chats would go on for a lot longer than you'd get to see broadcast. Also, they were the result of more than one phone conversation with a researcher, trying to find an angle for John to discuss with you. And it wasn't just your own chats, you had to sit through everyone else's. It's not that they weren't interesting, but personally, I just wanted to get on with the competition. Each to his own, obviously.

Hi Mycool. All I can say to that is that even old Mastermind hands commit errors sometimes. Case in point - my heat of champion of champions against the great Pat Gibson. I was going great guns in my specialist, but on one question - to which I knew the answer - my mind just went blank, and I couldn't even make a guess. It does happen.

Dan said...

At the risk of re-opening any wounds, Neil, you do get to talk about your specialist subject once you’ve got to the final ...

neil wright said...

Dan,
You may be talking about your specialist subject but is it the same as being interviewed by John Humphreys? I suspect it is a totally different experience.