Friday, 3 November 2017

Mastermind 2018 - Round One - Heat 14


Another week, another heat, dearly beloved, and yes, thank you, I had a lovely time during my short half-term visit to Budapest. We had at least 2 recidivists in tonight’s heat. I say atr least, because I can’t be sure whether Michael Clark, our first contender tonight, was the same Mike Clark who contended in 2009.

So let’s talk about Michael, then, since he did go first, as I said. Michael was offering us what I thought would be my worst subject of the evening, Elvis Presley. Now, you’d be a fool if you said anything other than Elvis was a great singer, and you’d be a fool to deny that he was a strong contender for the title of most important popular entertainer of the 20th century. But for all that, Elvis was my parent’s thing, and not mine. So I was never that sort of Elvis fan. So I was extremely surprised to kick off my attempt at setting a record specialist aggregate for a heat of this series with 8 points. All I can suggest is that there were a lot of guessable questions in this round. Still , considering that this was supposed to be my worst subject, it boded well. Michael kicked off with a good 12 to give himself a decent chance of the win.

So then we came to Sarah Elder. I thought I recognised her, and a quick check revealed that she did take part in the first round a couple of years ago. Sarah must have really enjoyed the experience, since although she put in a perfectly respectable performance last time out, she wasn’t really that close to winning her heat. This time round she was offering a good historical subject, The Glorious Revolution. Now, while I scored 8 on Elvis, I only scored 6 on this round – go figure. Like Michael, Sarah too managed a good 12 points. On 14 myself, a new top score was definitely possible since I could count on points from both of the last two subjects.

Ian Slater came up clean from my search of the database, so I’m fairly sure he is a Mastermind virgin. His subject was the Foundation Novels of Isaac Asimov. I have read all of them. When I was a teenager, I loved Asimov’s work. However, that was decades ago, and I haven’t re-read the books since, a fact which became clear as a flood of points failed to materialise. While Ian too mopped up 12, I struggled to get 5. That gave me 19, one away from a respectable score of 20, but needing a really good round to set a new target.

The subject, then was the 70s sitcom “Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em”. This was being offered by Philip Isaac, semi finalist in 2015. Last time he was in the heats, Philip offered us ‘Allo ‘Allo, so he was keeping very much with the sitcom theme. I have to say that Some Mothers made far more of an impression on me than the later show, as I took 8 points to set a new record of 27. More to the point, though, Philip himself whacked in a fine 13 and no passes. As we’ve observed several times before, in this era of the show, a specialist score in the teens in the heats is pretty good going. Indeed, a congratulations to all 4 contenders – it’s always nice to see all 4 contenders paying the show respect by preparing thoroughly. 

So to the General knowledge. The way things had worked out the contenders would be returning to the chair in the same order in which they had contested the specialist rounds. Putting it in perspective, last time out in the heats, Philip had managed 13 in GK, and there was no good reason to suspect that he wouldn’t manage that level of performance this time round. Allowing for that, then, while Michael added a perfectly decent 11 to his score, it looked unlikely that his 23 would be a winning score in this heat. Sarah Elder had scored 9 the last time she was in the first round, and that’s what she managed tonight, to take her to 21. I’m sure that this is scant consolation, but I found her GK round harder than any of the other three. Of course, this is all in the eye of the beholder, and I dare say that there will have been viewers who found her round easier. Once again, though, she looked as if she had enjoyed her Mastermind experience, and once again she had acquitted herself perfectly respectably. 

As did Ian Slater, in fact, he did somewhat better than respectably. He needed to score 12 to go into the lead without needing a pass countback, and that’s exactly what he managed. John rather rubbed it in that he missed a wee bit of a sitter with his last question, which wasn’t strictly necessary, but nonetheless he at least had put in a score which would leave Philip needing to cross the corridor of doubt in order to win. Yet Philip certainly didn’t look in any doubt. . . until he had reached 23, that is. Then a couple of questions came and went before he could put himself equal to Ian. Almost immediately after this, though he made the pass situation academic with another correct answer, and by the end of the round he’d put daylight between himself and the chasing pack with a score of 13 to give him 26.  Well played, sir, and best of luck in the semi final. 

The Details

Michael Clark
Elvis Presley
12
0
11
2
23
2
Sarah Elder
The Glorious Revolution
12
0
9
0
21
0
Ian Slater
The Foundation Novels of Isaac Asimov
12
1
12
2
24
3
Philip Isaac
Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
13
0
13
3
26
3

12 comments:

Mycool said...

Actually, this was episode 15. The next episode is episode 16. Episode 14 has disappeared. The Radio Times for 3 November shows the specialist subjects of episode 14, and the Radio Times for 10 November shows the specialist subjects of episode 15, which has already been broadcast. The BBC i-Player version of episode 15 shows it as having been broadcast on 10 November, even though it was broadcast on 3 November. Presumably episode 14 was "pulled" at short notice.

As things stand, Ian Slater is joint 5th in the repechage, along with Didier Bruyere and Traci Whitehead, and two of the three would qualify for the repechage slots. Obviously, there is still time for other contenders to knock them off their perch.

Not only did Mike Clark compete in 2009, but he was also the Brain of Britain Champion 2016. The Brain of Britain website describes him as "a driver with a charitable organisation in Montrose", whereas this Mastermind episode describes Michael Clark as "a charity worker from Angus". So presumably it is the same person.

Ian F said...

Yes, this is Mike Clark who won Brain of Britain.

Londinius said...

Thanks gents. I'm afraid that I've rather lost touch with BoB in the last few years. In that case it makes Philip's performance all the more impressive. I don't know, you'd maybe expect a little more from a Brain of Britain winner than 11 on GK. But then again, perhaps it's a case of some quizzers being better suited to BoB than to Mastermind, and vice versa. Interesting thought that. There's obviously a lot of crossover between the two - just look at the number of the greats who've done the MM/BoB double - Roger Pritchard - Kevin Ashman - Chris Hughes - Pat Gibson - Geoff Thomas - Ian Bayley - and spare a poor thought for those poor devils who've won one and reached the final in another - I think of Mark Grant (and myself).

In any quiz there is an element of luck - you can only answer the questions that get asked. I think for any quizzer, the sum total of what you don't know is greater than the sum total of what you do know, and so if you get asked a majority of things you don't know, well, that's bad luck. In Mastermind, you can't buzz in and answer other people's questions. In BoB you can, but if you get a run of first questions to which you don't know the answers, then you're never going to get enough bonuses to make up the difference. In Mastermind, a wrong answer doesn't have to scupper you for the rest of that round. Of course, the more you know, the more you make your own luck, and that's true in both formats.

Ian F said...

Both Mike and Didier are very strong performers on the Grand Prix quizzes, and you could argue that Didier is the world's best quizzer at the moment. But shows like BoB and MM introduce elements of gameplay that you have to deal with on top of providing good general knowledge. That's what make them interesting!

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

If I may clarify regarding the pulling of episode 14, this is because one of the specialist subjects was Kevin Spacey, a subject the BBC apparently decided it was inappropriate to have questions on given the allegations against the man currently in the media.

Which makes sense from a publicity perspective, since all it takes is a channel-hopper with too much time on their hands and a horrible stink would be raised about it being "inappropriate".

Mycool said...

Isabelle Heward won the Mastermind 2017 final with a stunning 17 on GK. And in her Brain of Britain 2017 heat she trounced the opposition with 16 points (the others scored 5, 4 and 3). When her Brain of Britain semi-final was recorded, the Mastermind result was already known. I watched the semi-final at the BBC Radio Theatre and thought that Isabelle would walk it; in fact, she came third equal with nine points. So doing well in Mastermind does not necessarily mean that you will do well in Brain of Britain.

But spare a thought for poor Brian Chesney, who lost the Mastermind 2014 final on passes and came second in the Brain of Britain 2015 final with 20 points, one point behind the winner. That must be heart-breaking.

Ian F said...

So will the winner of MM episode 14 just go into the semi-finals, without the episode being show?

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

I'm not an insider, only a viewer who heard this from the Quiz Discussion Group on Facebook, but speculation is that the episode will be shown at a later date. Theoretically - though unfairly - the heat could be expunged from existence and a stand or reserve used instead of the heat winner in the semis, but it seems unlikely that it will come to that.

claire slater said...

I feel sorry for all four contenders in that episode. Getting on mastermind is a big thing for all the contestants and the thought of it not being shown is a blow for all if them. Does anybody on here know how, in normal circumstances, they choose which round is shown each week? Is it in the order of filming?

Unknown said...

A little late to this discussion but I'm fairly sure it's not the order of filming that decides the broadcast order. I was at the first episode of this series, which was filmed on a Friday after four previous days of shooting. We saw John Humphreys filming the series introduction so they must have decided it was the first episode before it was shot.

Stephen Follows said...

Presumably that's also true of University Challenge, judging by the way the first heat always seems to be a high-scoring nail-biter and often produces one of the repechage teams.

Adam "Addy" Lewis said...

I can confirm that filming order and broadcast order are not the same. I was on The Boss recently, and we were in the studio backstage with the contestants from another episode. Both episodes were filmed back to back, but the other one ended up airing a fortnight (so 10 episodes or so) ahead of my own one.

The producers will have their own reasons for deciding the order of things, and of course it's always subject to change, potentially at the last minute. Contestants are well aware of the potential for this, and are told as much on the day of filming.