Saturday, 10 March 2018

Mastermind 2018 : Semi Final 5


At last the Beeb have deigned to allow us to watch the next semi final. As has become traditional, let us have a look at the first round form book.

Christine Quigley
Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam novels
15
0
12
6
27
Claire Slater
The Life and Works of Leonardo da Vinci
12
1
13
3
25
Jonathan Frere
Julius Caesar
10
0
12
0
22
Brian Chesney
Harold Wilson
15
0
15
1
30
Jonathan Wright
The History of the Tour de France
12
0
15
0
27

Now, even before we consider previous experience, Brian Chesney rather stuck out as the man to beat according to first round form. When we consider he is a former finalist, and runner up in Clive’s series, then you can see why it was difficult for me to look beyond him for the favourite to last night’s show. However we’ve also seen already this season that Mastermind can be no respecter of reputations. So if not Brian, well, Jonathan Wright, although a runner up, had shown well in his heat, and neither Christine Quigley nor our own Claire Slater should be dismissed out of hand. 

So to the show. Now, last time out I set a new record aggregate specialist round total for this year’s semis. Casting an eye down the list of subjects for last night’s show, it soon became obvious that I was more likely to set a record lowest aggregate total . Jonathan Wright’s round on Manchester Music offered me a little, and I was glad to take two points and run on that one. Jonathan had scored 12 on the Tour de France in the first round – off 30 seconds less he scored 7 on this round. That’s perfectly respectable, but as we’ve seen already in this series, it’s just not going to be enough to allow you to make a realistic challenge for a win. 

I scored 2 on Christine Quigley’s round on The Battle of Clontarf. I expected to get one by answering Brian Boru to every question, but I did know the Jarl of Orkney as well, much to my surprise. Christine Knew her subject, but the semi final is a funny old beast. I know a number of people whose opinion I value and respect who reckon that the semi final can often be harder than the final, and so even Christine dropped a couple of points. Nevertheless, 9 is a good score, and can keep you in contention at this stage. 

I don’t recall ever having watched an episode of E.R. I know that years ago, when it first began showing in the UK, it was shown on a Thursday evening at the same time as I was playing it he quiz in the Aberavon Rugby Club. Besides, doctors, or cops for that matter don’t do it for me. Courtroom dramas, that’s a different matter, however, I digress. So I scored zilch. LAM reader Claire posted a perfectly respectable 7, but too many obscure plot details prevented her from building a higher total. 

I have actually visited the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. So I did think that I might maybe nick a point or two on Jonathan Frere’s round on Augustus Pitt Rivers. In short, I did not. Jonathan, like Brian, took part in a previous series. Unlike Brian he didn’t make it to the semis. So Jonathan had dne well to reach this stage. Like Christine he posted 9, a good performance, but was still caught out on a couple of questions. 

So to Brian Chesney. Brian was offering The Giordano Bruno Novels of SJ Parris, or SJ Who? as he/she is known in LAM Towers. Which probably gives you a clue that I posted another duck on this round. On the other hand Brian managed to answer every one of them. A double figure round in the semi final specialists is a terrific performance, and bearing in mind Brian’s prowess with GK, you could probably have named your own price on any of the other four contenders at this stage of the game. 

Still upsets can happen, and the contest was far from over yet. Jonathan Wright was first to return to the chair. Now, going back to my comment about some people thinking that the semi final stage actually being the hardest, what does sometimes happen in the semis is that the GK is ramped up a little bit, and so some contenders who have done well in GK in the heat seem to underperform when it comes to the semi. Jonathan had scored an excellent 15 in the heat in GK. Sadly he never hit these heights in this semi final round. It just wasn’t his night, and he dropped a few which I dare say he’d have had on another evening. A respectable 8 put him on 15.

Claire did rather better. Her battling 9 put her onto 16, a point ahead of Jonathan. It didn’t look likely to remain the top score for long, but never mind. Claire, you can be pleased with your 2018 campaign, and I hope you really enjoyed it. 

Realistically, if either Christine or Jonathan Frere was going to put Brian into the corridor of doubt, then they were going to need to post a very good score in GK. This looked a little unlikely bearing in mind that they posted good rather than great scores in their GK rounds in the heats. Christine matched Jonathan Wright’s 8, and having started 2 points to the good she leapfrogged Claire into the lead, with a score of 17. So far, each of our contenders had been in the lead following their GK round. Would Jonathan Frere repeat this feat? Yes indeed. In his heat Jonathan scored 12 on GK. In real terms, with 30 seconds less, his score of 10 in this semi was statistically better. That was the good news. The bad news was that I couldn’t see it being enough to put Brian into the corridor of doubt.

Brian is a pretty nerveless performer in my experience of watching him in Mastermind, and listening to him in Brain of Britain. I’ll be honest, I thought he had quite a few bouncers to contend with in his GK round, but nothing phased him, and he made relatively short work of the 9 he needed to go into the lead, finishing with 12 and a 4 point margin of victory. Well played sir. AM I going to jinx Brian by tipping him to win the final. No, sir, I am not, well, not yet, anyway. But I will say this. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Brian, the ‘bridesmaid’ in Mastermind and BOB in the past, turns out to be the bride in this series. Time will tell. 

The Details

Jonathan Wright
Manchester Music 1978 - present
7
1
8
3
15
3
Christine Quigley
The Battle of Clontarf
9
1
8
4
17
5
Claire Slater
E.R.
7
2
9
1
16
1
Jonathan Frere
The Life and Word of Augustus Pitt Rivers
9
0
10
0
19
0
Brian Chesney
The Giordano Bruno Novels of SJ Parris
11
0
12
1
23
1

3 comments:

Paul Gilbert said...

Brian becomes the 5th person in the Humphrys era to reach the final twice, following Geoff Thomas, Mark Grant, Ian Bayley and Diane Hallagan. Like Bryan, the first three of those all finished runner-up in their first final, with Geoff and Ian both going one better the following time.

With Brian's defeat in the 2013-14 final being on number of passes, this means that he has had 5 appearances without being outscored by another contestant.

On a slightly different note, we are in the almost-certainly-unprecedented situation of only having 1 semi-final left but being uncertain as to who will appear in it - there was a tie for 6th place in the highest-scoring runners up list, and neither of them have yet appeared in the semis.

neil wright said...

As I have mentioned previously, Brian seems to make a habit of coming second in finals. As well as Mastermind and BOB, there was Fifteen to One and, most recently, Brain of Brains. Brian was invited as highest losing finalist, along with the three previous winners, and lost only on a sudden death tie break.

So, does that mean that he is in good form and getting ever nearer to winning a Grand Final? Or maybe he is just one of those unlucky people who always finds there is someone to beat him when it really matters. It will be fascinating to see.

claire slater said...

Thanks for your blog and comments. I thoroughly enjoyed mastermind , my journey took just under a year from applying to the program through to my semi final being broadcast
If anyone is unsure about whether they should apply, I would urge them to. Life's to short for regrets etc...