Saturday, 17 March 2018

Heat Runners Up and Mastermind Finals


I have done a little bit of research on this. When I was putting together my preview of this year’s coming Grand Final I noticed that none of the 6 repechage semi finalists had made it through, for the second year in a row. I began to wonder whether any repechage semi finalists have reached the final in the Humphrys era.

Which just goes to show what a short memory I’ve got. Just 3 years ago, Marianne Fairthorne won the Grand Final, having reached the semis through a highest scoring runner up spot. Mind you, that was only justice since she only lost her heat on passes, with a high score which would have won a lot of the other heats.

When the Humphrys era began in 2003, in Andy’s series, there were only places in the semi finals for the heat winners. This continued until Jesse’s 2010 series. I remember having a conversation with then producer Jon Kelly in 2007, in which he said that highest scoring runner up slots was something which they were considering for the future. In order to accommodate them they scrapped the inter-round chats – still a part of Sleb Mastermind – and I’ll be honest, I always found them a bit painful while I was waiting to get on with my GK round.

The first ever heat runner up to reach a Humphrys era final was my mate Les Morrell, which reached the 2010 final. I may be wrong, but I believe that only one contender, Diane Hallagan, has reached two finals having been a heat runner up both times. My records for 2016 are incomplete, so I can’t be sure, but I believe that 6 heat runners up have reached the finals in the 9 years since repechage places were reintroduced, counting Diane in both 2011 and 2015. 2015 is an interesting year since no fewer than three of the finalists had been heat runners up.

Things were at least slightly different in the classic era. If I recall correctly, the repechage runners up all contested the same semi final, which meant that one of them would definitely get to the final. Several times repechage semi winners went on to take the title, namely –

Patricia Owen – 1973

Sir David Hunt - 1977

Rosemary James  -1978

Margaret Harris – 1984

David Edwards -1990

Stephen Follows - 2000

That’s 5 wins out of 25, an average of once every 5 years, compared with 1 win in the 9 seasons of the revived series where high scoring runners up have had places in the semis.  

Stephen Follows informs me "The format of the Radio 4 series (or my 2000 series, at least) was a bit different from the current TV format. Only thirteen weekly slots were made available, so the top two from each of the eight heats went through to the semi-finals.

I was one of those who came second in their heat, and I too met the winner of my heat (whose name temporarily escapes me) for a second time in the final - so you can add me to your list of runners-up who became champions."

Thanks for that Stephen. I don't know if either of the other Radio 4 Mastermind champs took the same route to the final, or what the arrangements were in Discovery Mastermind. If anyone knows for certain whether it was possible in either version to progress to the final having lost a heat, could you please leave a comment?


7 comments:

Paul Gilbert said...

The 2003 series had the same format as the Magnus era - Ian Pickering reached the final from the repechage SF, where he faced a re-match with Geoff Thomas (who had beaten him in the heat).

Londinius said...

Ah, I didn't know that. Thanks Paul

Stephen Follows said...

The format of the Radio 4 series (or my 2000 series, at least) was a bit different from the current TV format. Only thirteen weekly slots were made available, so the top two from each of the eight heats went through to the semi-finals.

I was one of those who came second in their heat, and I too met the winner of my heat (whose name temporarily escapes me) for a second time in the final - so you can add me to your list of runners-up who became champions.

Londinius said...

Ah, thanks Stephen. Much appreciated.

LisaH said...

Didn't Anne Ashworth reach the final as the highest scoring runner up in the 1997 semis? (the only time in my memory there was a repechage place at this stage)?

Londinius said...

Hi Lisa - you could well be right about that. I'll look in "I've Started So I'll Finish"

James Conroy said...

Hey David my fellow irish man domhnall ryan won junior mastermind after being highest scoring runner up in semester final :)