Saturday, 17 August 2019

University Challenge - Round One - HEat Five - Wolfson, Cambridge v. St. John's , Oxford


Yes, Dearly Beloved, this brings us up to date with another Oxford v. Cambridge rumble. Wolfson, Cambridge won the series a few years ago, led by the estimable Eric Monkman. Hoping to emulate his team’s achievement were Tom Greig, Erin Spike, Tommy Lee and skipper Ryan-Rhys Griffiths. I noticed that JP did not try to imitate any former captain of St. John’s Oxford when he introduced them. They were Sam Burns, Isabella Morris, Arun Soor and their captain Asher Leeks. The head to head score so far in the series stood at 1 – 0 to Oxford, who also saw Magdalen progress a couple of weeks ago. All to play for for Wolfson, then.

The first starter was one of those which suddenly becomes blindingly obvious, and it was Sam Burns who was first in to recognise that “Becoming” was the best selling memoir of Michelle Obama. Song in the electronic age provided just the one bonus. Asher Leeks came in before the next starter became obvious, which allowed Wolfson to answer that the word being defined was spur. Tapestries proved too difficult for Wolfson, which left the scores level. I didn’t understand the next question, but Asher Leeks did and buzzed in with the correct answer of sulphuric acid. A hard set on SI base units provided just the one bonus, but took us up to the picture set. For the starter we saw a map of Africa with one country highlighted in red. Neither team recognised Liberia. Erin Spike knew that a crime of 1911 referred to in the next question was the theft of the Mona Lisa. This earned the picture bonuses, in the shape of other countries, like Liberia, which are the flag states of convenience for large amounts of the world’s shipping. This was not an easy set, and they failed to add to their score. All of which meant that the teams were tied on a modest 25 apiece after the first ten minutes.

Neither team knew the Aegir, the tidal bore on the Trent, but Tom Greig lost five for an incorrect interruption. This was compounded when skipper Ryan-Rhys Griffiths did the same for the next starter. St. John’s didn’t know the term rectification, and neither did I. Thankfully Arun Soor knew the next starter, that the 1979 revolution occurred in Iran. German rococo architecture didn’t sound at all promising, yet we both took a full house. Sa Burns knew the 2016 novel The Power, and the gap was widening between the two teams. Bonuses on pairs of words that differ only by the letters V and I at the start were a nice UC special set, which provided St. John’s with a further 10 points as we approached the music round. Now, I’m not a great devotee of classical music, but I was surprised when absolutely nobody on either team recognised Schubert’s Ave Maria. Not as surprised as Jeremy Paxman mind you. More on that later. Neither team knew that UNESCO had added reggae music to its list of types of music which added to our world heritage – can’t disagree with that. Sam Burns buzzed in early to identify the word fetish for the next starter. The music bonuses, then, were three more from Classic FM’s list of the most popular classical pieces for weddings. Unsurprisingly no points were scored from this set. Now when you hear the words ‘British leader’ and ‘Roman Invasion’ it’s only natural that the name Boudicca would spring to mind, as it did for Sam Burns. Who lost five for his pains. Well, if it ain’t her then it’s going to be Caractacus – whose harem have a habit of just passing by apparently. Finally, having been shut out for about 9 minutes, Tommy Lee took a starter for Wolfson with mockingbird, thus saving them from reaching the 20 minute mark with fewer points than they had scored by the 10 minute mark. At least one correct bonus on American cities meant that they had doubled their total with this visit to the table. They trailed by 70 – 30 at the 20 minute mark.

Okay, now if the question mentions a NASA lander, then it’s going to be Mars if it asks for the planet. Sam Burns took that to halt Wolfson’s mini revival. One bonus on Physics meant we were still some way from either team breaking into triple figures. A lovely UC special starter next saw both teams really fail to understand the question, which required the answers of Charles the Bold and Charles the Bald. It had been a long time coming, but I finally took my lap of honour for knowing that 100 million years before present would put us back into the Cretaceous. Sam Burns was closest with Jurassic. It was looking all too easy for St. John’s, who had time to dwell on the buzzer a moment before Asher Leeks identified that both golf clubs and tennis racquets have sweet spots. So do jammie dodgers, although you can’t hit balls very far with them. One bonus on Simones at last put St. John’s into trile figures. The second picture starter showed us Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’Herbe, which Erin Spike was first to recognise. Other pictures refused by the salon but exhibited in the 1863 salon des refuses failed to add more points to Wolfson’s total. Nobody knew that the last adjective in Paradise Lost is solitary. Not surprised. A really lovely UC special starter asked in terms of accession years, which element was equivalent to Edward VII. Neither team knew 1901 which would have given them Hydrogen. Arun Soor knew that if the question name checks William Morris, then the answer is probably Arts and Crafts. This brought up a set of bonuses on domesticated animals, of which St. John’s answered one correctly. That brought us to the gong, with St. John’s winning by 115 to 40.

What can I say? I don’t want to be mean or hurtful. In a way it’s a pity that this match up should follow some very good contests. But it did, and being objective, I have to echo JP’s words that St. John’s performance wasn’t much better than reasonable. Their bonus conversion rate was less than 50%. As for Wolfson, well, if they got more than 2 bonuses, I didn’t see them. I may be wrong, but that’s certainly the lowest scoring match I can remember since the BBC revival. Hopefully, it’s just a one off. If I were a member of the Bristol, Corpus Christi or York teams, I’d be cursing our bad luck that we didn’t get drawn against either of those teams in our first round match. That’s the way it goes.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think much of JPs Eric Monkman impression when introducing Wolfson.

On the crooners bonuses, the last question asked which former prime minister of his country had been described as a cruise ship crooner, not having a scooby St. John’s tried Kevin Rudd. “Kevin Rudd!” exclaimed JP in what sounded like the highest of dudgeons, “ I don’t even know if he can hold a note!” No, and neither did St. John’s which is possibly why they gave that reasonable answer, Jez.

I can more understand his reaction to neither team knowing Ave Maria, which he described as ‘lamentable’. A bit extreme, but at least I know where he’s coming from with that. Unsatisfied with leaving it at that, when St. John’s last wild stab in the dark at the third music bonuses was wrong, he spluttered, “No, it’s Bach! Jesu joy of Man’s Desiring – You  barbarians!” Alright, Jez, we got the point. Don’t milk it.

When Tom Greig suggested Robert the Bruce for King Caractacus JP favoured him with the most old fashioned of looks, and repeated the name with incredulity.

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

There is one ship registered for every 18 people in the Marshall islands.

University Challenge 2020 - Round One - Heat 4 - Birmingham v. Bristol


Yes folks, it was the battle of the Bs in heat 4, Birmingham and Bristol. Bristol did ask if I could meet up with them, have a chat and give them the dubious benefit of my experience, but sadly it was on just too short notice, and I couldn’t make it. Still, it did mean that I was hoping the team would do well. Aiming to prevent this from happening were Birmingham in the shape of Alex Milone, Izzy Lewis, Ben Sculfor and captain Zoe Bleything. For Bristol we had Ben Allen, Dan Hawkins, Ben Joynson and skipper Laura Denton.

Ben Allen struck first for Bristol knowing that The Testaments is the 2018 sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Two word phrases containing a colour brought one bonus. Ben Sculfor recognised various definitions of the word backstop before we got to the most notorious one. This brought Birmingham 3 bonuses on chocolate, upon which they gorged themselves with a full house. A great quick buzz from Laura Denton saw her identify the person in question as one of the founders of the Science of Epidemiology. Pairs of words that differ only by the substitution of an e for a u or vice versa saw them take 2 out of a gettable set. A fine early buzz from Dan Hawkins saw him identify a set of capital cities on or near Lake Victoria. Ida Noddack – yes, Ida Who? – promised little, yet delivered me a lap of honour for knowing Rhenium. I didn’t have a scooby about the next one, but Bristol took a full house. So to the picture starter, and an unhelpful (to me) electron dot diagram. Ben Joynson knew that one, and three more of the same sort of thing provided a further ten points. All of which meant that slightly after the 10 minute mark Bristol led by 80 – 25.

Ben Allen buzzed too early for the next starter. When I heard introduced in 2018 and Football League I too thought VAR, but the words code of conduct showed that this was not the right answer. It was the Rooney rule, requiring clubs to interview at least one minority candidate for each coaching position. Birmingham couldn’t capitalise. Alex Milone knew that the other main variety of coffee apart from robusta is arabica, and the last three letters of it are ica. Fictional Hotels gave them one bonus. Ben Sculfor continued the Birmingham revival knowing that a given set of works were set in Nagasaki. A couple of bonuses on Australia meant that Birmingham could take the lead with the next set. Neither team knew the term thermolabile for the next starter. Me neither. A good interruption saw Dan Hawkins identify a couple of capitals of the Bulgarian Empire. Sporting achievements brought just the one bonus, but took us up to the music starter. Now look, if I’m asked for the composer of a symphony on UC, and I don’t have a scooby, I always answer Beethoven. Ben Allen zigged with Haydn, Izzy Lewis zagged with Beethoven, and she was right. Other classical works featuring prominently in Wes Anderson films didn’t help them at all, and they failed to identify any of them. Ben Sculfor knew the term substrate for the next starter, and two bonuses on events on various 10ths of December brought them to 85 points, just 5 behind Bristol. Once again, we had a contest where the outcome was unclear by the 20 minute mark.

Both teams were level after Dan Hawkins came in too early for the next starter, allowing Alex Milone in with Tom Wolfe – the Bonfire of the Vanities and the Right Stuff being the clinchers. One bonus on a tough set on Geology took them into triple figures. Given a reprieve through a wrong answer by Birmingham for the next starter, Laura Denton eventually dredged up Cape Wrath. It seemed a long time since Bristol had a correct answer, but two bonuses on rock bands gave them back a slender lead. For the second picture starter Dan Hawkins won the buzzer race to identify Sir Quentin Blake. 3 more children’s laureates provided a timely full set. Fair play to Ben Sculfor, though, he wasn’t giving anything up for Birmingham, and buzzed early to answer Hyperbolic Geometry. ( That’s the one about fantastic triangles and unbeatable angles, I presume). A terrific set on the chemical formulae of various – oses – brought a full house and a highly prized Paxman well done. Ben Allen squared the teams’ scores by coming in too early on the next starter, wanting the word seabed, but Birmingham couldn’t take advantage. Neither team could recall characters from The Old Curiosity Chop either for the next starter. Ben Allen came in early for the next starter, but was one year out, a death or glory charge which looked like it could end in death. Nobody knew that ergocalcipherol (who was one of the decepticons, I thought) was vitamin D2. Right, then. We were asked the last starter, and Ben Sculfor buzzed in just as the gong went. Which meant that his answer wouldn’t count anyway. So This gave Birmingham a win by 5.

Again, another contest that went down to the wire, which is what I’d prefer to see if I’m honest. Very bad luck to Bristol, but I just can’t see them coming back. Well done to Birmingham. Both teams had similar bonus conversion rates, with Bristol slightly the better, however at the end of the day it was the interruption penalties which did for them.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I thought it was a bit mean insisting that Bristol gave the Christian name of the coach of the England Women’s netball team who won Commonwealth gold in 2018. But I would imagine that was a message in JP’s ear which insisted on that.

I think he had a bit of a downer on Bristol. When they realised that they didn’t know the band Metric and passed, he sneered sarcastically , “Thank you. Took a long time getting there, didn’t you.”

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

The Testaments is the 2018 sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

University Challenge 2020 - Round one heat three - Magdalen, Oxford v. York


In the previous heat we saw the first of this year’s Oxford colleges – Corpus Christi – take their place in the second round. Aiming to join them were Magdalen, in the shape of Dominic Brind, Josie Dallas, Harry Stratton and Captain Alex Hardwick. Aiming to prevent them from doing so were York, who were represented by Mickey Conn, Sophie Williams, David Eastham and skipper Sam McEwan.

Sophie Williams opened York’s account, recognising various definitions of the word graft. Books that had a profound effect on the creature in Shelley’s Frankenstein brought two good bonuses. Captain Alex Hardwick may well have known the answer to the next starter anyway, but any question which starts with the world championship of which game is always going to give you a decent chance if you answer chess. He still earned a well done from JP for it, which as we know is the UC equivalent of the Hollywood handshake. This brought 3 bonuses on Einstein. Now I’m sorry, but chances are I would have taken a lap of honour around the living room for knowing any of the answers. For knowing all three, though, I had to accompany it with a rousing rendition of that popular classic, Earwig O, as I did so. Thankfully Magdalen refrained from doing so when they also took a full house. Encouraged by his success, Alex Hardwick came in far too early for the next starter, allowing York a couple of moments to work out that the bone being referred to had to be called the axis. The year 1994 in video games proved very much to York’s collective liking, as they took their own full house. The only one I got was Donkey Kong, which I remember playing in a pub as early as 1983 – yes, dearly beloved, I was actually old enough to go into pubs in 1983. Given a list of leaders, Mickey Conn correctly took his second consecutive starter by recognising that two of the four countries alluded to were Gabon and Cameroon. Piano makers gave none of us anything in the first two questions, but we both despatched a very gentle underarm ball to the boundary knowing that a 97 key imperial grand has 9 more keys than a standard piano. For the picture starter we saw an erasure, or blackout poem. Basically you take the first page of a well known novel, and erase words to leave you with a poem of your own making. Told that this was from a 19th century novel, Sophie Williams zigged with “Wuthering Heights” The word truth on the top line suggested “Pride and Pred” and indeed Harry Stratton gave the same answer. JP leapt up from his seat and slapped him across the head calling him a “Cocky Australian oik.” No he didn’t. Jusrt testing if you were paying attention. This earned bonuses with more of the same taken from 20th century novels, and I thought that Magdalen did really well to get the first two – I only managed the first. So slightly past the 10 minute mark the scores stood at 60 – 40 in York’s favour.

Neither team could name an English monarch whose reign coincided with that of Suleiman the Magnificent, and Dominic Brind came in just a millisecond too early. Alex Hardwick was the first to recall that the creature slain at Delphi was the python, and this earned a set of bonuses on pairs of words – one of which was made by adding the letter J to the other, for example ape and jape. I usually think that you have to aim for a full house with this kind of set, and that’s exactly what Magdalen earned. Alex Hardwick certainly seemed to have the fastest buzzer finger at the moment as he took a second consecutive early buzz to correctly identify the definition of martial law. Incidentally, when I typed it in I accidentally put marital law. Freudian slip? Behave yourself. Prominent rulings of the US Supreme Court brought another full house, and Magdalen were now in the lead. The big clue about the short name of raphus cucullatus was that it was first sighted in the 16th century by Portuguese sailors. David Eastham chanced his arm with dodo, and he was right to dodo so. The story of Little Red Riding Hood brought York their own full house, and meant that both teams were one set away from a triple figure score. Good match. For the music starter we were played a composition written for piano but played on a synthesizer. Alex Hardwick was the first to notice that this was Debussy. Three more pieces played on a synthesizer provided two correct answers. Josie Dallas was very quickly in to identify Serial as being Apple’s biggest selling podcast in 2014. No, me neither. Dwarf planets provided just the one bonus to any of us. Asking for an 18th century furniture designer, Dominic Brind buzzed early and zigged correctly with Chippendale. Two bonuses on Fosse Way took their score to 140, which followed a five minute blitz during which Magdalen had completely shut out York, who languished on 85.

David Eastham got York moving again, knowing that if you throw two standard dice, excluding movements dictated by cards, the probability of landing on a railway station from Go in Monopoly is one in 9. Universities often known as UC provided a tricky set, with only The University of Canberra coming good for any of us. For the second picture starter Sophie Williams identified a still from The Twilight Zone – itself a specialist subject on the most recent heat of Mastermind. 3 more recent anthology TV series brought me nothing, but a full house to York. Consideirng the quality of both teams I was surprised that neither managed archetype from the definition that they were given for the next starter. David Eastham knew that the Wollaston medal is presented for achievements in Geology, and brought his team to within 5 points of Magdalen. Women bornin 1819, the same year as Queen Victoria (Gawd Bless ‘Er!)provided the one bonus to put the scores back on level pegging. Altogether now – squeaky bum time for both teams. Alex Hardwick played another captain’s innings, coming in early to identify a set of words all ending in – ling. Reptiles of the UK brought just a single bonus. However this meant that the next starter was crucial. If Magdalen could get it, then the chances were that there wasn’t enough time for York to come back. I took a flier on the next starter, thinking that the answer would be neutral, which is ph7. Harry Stratton confirmed I was right when he buzzed in to seal the deal for Magdalen. Classical music and German literature provided just one more bonus, but that was enough to ensure that York would need at least 2 visits to the table, and there was never going to be enough time for that. David Eastham had a go, though. He correctly identified the philosopher Zeno for the next starter, at which point the contest was gonged. Magdalen won by 170 to 150.

Well played Magdalen. Well played York – you deserve a place in the repechage round. Both teams had a bonus conversion rate of slightly more than 66%, which shows just how evenly matched they were. 3 games in, and no duffer teams yet. Let’s hope that this continues.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Blimey, but the great man started early tonight. Harry Stratton, from Sydney, introduced himself with G’day, which caused JP to sneer – “Subtlety, such a great characteristic of Australia!” Jez, it’s not as if he stood on the desk doing a kangaroo impression and singing Waltzing Matilda, for heaven’s sake! Something must have rattled his cage earlier, because when Cam McEwan correctly answered the sorrows of young Werther, JP deliberately corrected his pronunciation from Werva to Vurta. Mind you, when the team selected The Faerie Queen as one of those books you put down and never pick up again he heartily agreed that it could have been, even though the correct answer was Paradise Lost.

Interesting Fact that I didn’t Already Know Of The Week

The Wollaston Medal is presented for achievements in Geology

University Challenge 2020 - Round One Heat 2 - Corpus Christi, Cambridge v. Merton, Oxford


Say what you like, dearly beloved, but I do find that a Cambridge v. Oxford match does tend to get the juices flowing. Corpus Christi were represented by Alexander Russell, Will Stewart, Alex Gunasakera and skipper Ian Wang. In their turn, Merton were represented by James Kempton, Rowan Wilson, Jacob Robertson and their captain Nick Ridpath.

A good early buzz from Jacob Robertson got the Oxford team off the mark. He knew that the first US manned space program was called Mercury. A set of bonuses on the US Department of the Interior saw them take one. Neither team could deduce the Wooden Horse of Troy from the lines quoted for the next starter, and Ian Wang came in too early, thus losing 5. So to the first question I missed. I may well have heard of hysteresis before, but I could have waited until doomsday and I still wouldn’t have been able to drag it up. Unlike Alex Gunasakera, whose swift buzz put Corpus into the black. There followed a set of bonuses on the film director Eva DuVernay, or Eva Who? As she is known in LAM Towers. Actually I say that, but I saw and enjoyed Selma – just didn’t know who directed it. 2 bonuses put them level with Merton. The next starter was one of those where you had to wait, and wait, and then buzz like hell once it became obvious. Ian Wang won the buzzer race to identify the Republic of China as Taiwan. Sea turtles didn’t promise a great deal, and yet managed to provide a full set for both of us. A lovely UC special starter in the picture set showed us a disc with ic wille beclyppan รพin hand as it’s title. Now, okay, it may well have been 33 years since I last studied Anglo Saxon, but I still recognised this as the Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Three more of the same followed, and Corpus only missed out on the most difficult which represented Strawberry Fields forever. Skipper Nick Ridpath stopped the rot for Merton, knowing that Anya Shrubsole was the first female to appear on the cover of Wisden. Good shout, that. A set of bonuses on Physics promised me nothing, but while it delivered a good full house to Merton, it also gave me a chance to follow the rule – if it’s about Electricity, say Faraday, and earn myself a lap of honour around the living room for doing so. So after a brisk and bright opening from both teams, by the 10 minute mark Corpus led by 60 – 35.

Sadly for Will Stewart he fell right into the trap with the next starter. Asked for the first 3 letters of an Anglo Saxon kingdom between the Tees and the Forth he went for the later kingdom of Northumbria – the first three letters of which were Nor. Before Northumbria there was Bernicia, which later combined with the southern Deira. Nick Ridpath took the rest of the question and then answered Ber correctly. Events of the 1460s brought a good full set, and the lead. Now, with regards to Science, the only topics where I usually have any hope of getting any points are firstly, the periodic table, and secondly Astronomy. So I was in pretty quickly with pulsars for the next starter, and eventually Jacob Robertson supplied the same correct answer. Video games surprisingly landed me a correct answer for Ocarina of Time, but no more, while Merton took two bonuses. Ian Wang was first in to recognise a description of sacked FBI chief James Comey for the next starter, thus getting his team moving again. Bays in the UK proved rather elusive for Corpus as they managed just the one from a distinctly gettable set. This brought us to the music starter. This gave us I got Rhythm, performed by its composer George Gerschwin. Alex Gunasakera recognised that one, and 3 more Gerschwin jazz standards followed, allowing Corpus to identify 2 of the singers, taking back the lead. Alex Gunasakera took his second consecutive starter, knowing that the smallest species of lynx is commonly called the bobcat. Essential amino acids promised me exactly what they delivered, as in nowt, but it allowed Corpus to stretch the lead a little. Now, I’ve always tried to resist taking a second lap of honour in the same show. But I’m very sorry, when JP gave us two mnemonics for a process in cell biology I shouted the only one I know – mitosis – and I was right! A little while later, when I got my breath back, James Kempton had correctly answered, and Merton had scored two bonuses on yr Beibl, and Welsh folk heroine Mary Jones. Jacob Robertson won the buzzer race to identify John Betjeman who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1972. Doubt in Shakespeare provided a timely full set which meant that just after the 20 minute mark Merton now had the lead with 125 to 105. Anyone’s game.

Stills from films of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and Kidnapped pointed towards Robert Louis Stevenson, but James Kempton had a speculative punt upfield with Dickens. Ian Wang chanced his arm with Bram stoker, and so the bonuses rolled over. Will Stewart knew the Poles, Margaret and Reginald to earn the picture bonuses. 3 more examples of screen adaptations where the author has more than 250 writing credits on IMD followed, and I thought Corpus did well to take a full set having missed out on Stevenson earlier. Another film starter saw both teams miss out on Grace Kelly, or Princess Grace of Meccano as I think she was once known. Ian Wang correctly named poetry and music as two of D’Alembert’s five fine arts to take the next starter at what was a crucial stage of the competition. Ian Wang certainly seemed to be feeling the tension as he rattled off three correct answers on the Mercury music prize without JP even having the time to read out the full question. Ian Ridpath took a flier with the next starter, asking in which country two teams play a derby. Judging the names as South American he gambled with Colombia. Sadly the full question wanted the capital city they played in, not the country, and on such small margins are tight competitions like this won and lost. Corpus couldn’t capitalise, but they were in the lead anyway, and the clock was running down. I didn’t understand the next question, but Jacob Robertson gave the correct answer of acceleration. A full house of three very quick bonuses on Geology put Merton just 10 points behind. Rowan Wilson lost five points by answering Hebrew as the second most widely spoken semitic language after Arabic. To be fair I would probably have done the same, and don’t blame her for going for it at all. Will Stewart got close with Ethiopian, but actually the answer was Amharic, which is spoken in Ethiopia. He was right on the money with Blenheim, as in battle and palace, for the next starter though. Novels since 1890 with the word Yellow in them only yielded one correct answer, but crucially this put Corpus 30 points ahead. This meant that a full set would not be enough for Merton, they were going to need at least 2 visits to the table. Alex Gnasekera made sure that this wasn’t going to happen by supplying the word Clade for the answer to the next starter. C’mon Feel The Noyze was my favourite one of theirs. One bonus on tin was neither here nor there, as there just wasn’t enough time for Merton now. Will Stewart continued Corpus’ finishing buzzer blitz, knowing the battle of Austerlitz for the next starter. That, as the Two Ronnies used to say, was all we had time for, as the competition was gonged with the scores at 195 to 140.

That doesn’t look close, does it? Yet until the last 3 or 4 minutes it really was either team’s game. Good show – well played Corpus. It was won on the buzzer, especially in the last couple of minutes. I hope we’ll see Merton again in the repechage round, because their bonus conversion was slightly better than Corpus’ – although to be fair both teams were around about two thirds. That’s pretty good quizzing.  

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Surely, I thought, surely JP wasn’t going to let a set of bonuses on video games pass without comment. Well, he didn’t let me down totally, but I have to say his comment “I didn’t think you’d have time for that sort of thing.” Was a but lacklustre. C+, could do better for that one, Jez.

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know of the Week

In 2018 Anya Shrubsole became the first female to appear on the cover of Wisden.

Mastermind 2020 - First round - Heat 2


Well, as you may have read, I have given a cautious thumbs up to the 2019 makeover of Mastermind. Last week’s first heat certainly benefitted from having 4 contenders capable of giving a good account of themselves in the GK round, who had thoroughly prepared their specialist rounds. How would the new look show fair with a slightly less strong line up of contenders, though?

First to throw her metaphorical hat into the metaphorical ring was Adrienne Holt. She was answering on Charles Dickens’ female characters. That’s quite an undertaking. Even if you only include the novels, there’s still a hell of a lot of them. In recent years there have been times when , in a wide ranging subject such as this, the vast majority of questions asked have been the kind where a decent knowledge of the subject has been enough to answer most of them, thus giving the contender and easier ride than others. In this round, though, I would say that the 7 that I managed was the most you would have got this way without thorough preparation, eg – what was Little Dorrit’s Christian name - and that’s the way it should be. Adrienne managed 8, although it would have been 9 I think if the buzzer hadn’t robbed her of concentration on the last question.

Hasit Raja offered us the Mughal Empire. Now, I don’t honestly know enough abou the subject to say that these were a mix of easier and harder questions like the previous round, although I did manage 3 of my own. Still, bearing in mind the length of the questions that are asked nowadays anything in double figures is a good performance, and Hasit’s 10 certainly looked like this. I was pleased to have dragged up the name Fatepur Sikri from somewhere in the recesses of memory.

Emily Lawrence offered us a near perfect round on Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, another subject where I struggled to add more than a couple of points to my aggregate total. She scored 12 and no passes, which puts her joint highest on specialist for this series. More about that in a moment.

Our final contender, Lewis Barn, has not been this way before, but is no stranger to our screens, having been a member of the Glasgow University team that reached the quarter finals of the last series of University Challenge. The path from UC to Mastermind seems to be a path becoming increasingly well-trodden, and that’s all to the good to my way of thinking. Lewis was answering on the original Twilight Zone series, and this gave me my second highest round of the evening. Not as high as Lewis’ though – he only failed to get a perfect round on the last question, thus joining the ranks of 12 and no passes. No fewer than 6 out of the 8 general knowledge rounds in this series so far have ended on this score. As for me, well, I don’t wish to talk about my aggregate SS score for the last show, but this set the bar at 16 for this season so far.

Last week, each contender raised the target with their rounds on GK, and a similar thing happened on last night’s show. Both Adrienne Holt and Hasit Raja scored respectable 8s on their own rounds, despite using very different tactics. Adrienne was trying to answer everything, which resulted in a couple of long pauses, and even then she still passed a couple of times. Hasit, by contrast, wasted no time hesitating, but it did mean he was perhaps a little trigger happy with the passes, incurring 5 by the end of the round.

At this point my money was on Lewis, Emily being very much an unknown quantity in terms of GK. She did manage to hit double figures, scoring 10 and 1 pass, which I reckoned should be enough to put Lewis into the corridor of doubt. Indeed, it was a pretty close run thing. Lewis only scored his 11th point on the very last question which gave him an outright win. However, he would have won anyway even if he’d answered it incorrectly, since he didn’t incur any passes. Well done, and best of luck to you in the semi finals.

So a second week, and while we didn’t see any of the same pyrotechnics which we saw in Emma Laslett’s round, I still enjoyed this. Keep up the good work.

The Details 

Adrienne Holt
Charles Dickens’ Female Characters
8
1
8
2
16
3
Hasit Raja
The Mughal Empire
10
1
8
5
18
6
Emily Lawrence
The Life and Legacy of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
12
0
10
1
22
1
Lewis Barn
Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone”
12
0
11
0
23
0

Mastermind 2020 - First Round - Heat 1


Right, then, let’s begin with the first heat of this year’s Mastermind. For the first time this season, Mastermind has been produced by an independent production company – I noticed the names Hindsight and the more well known Hat Trick at the end of the show. So the big question, especially considering the document the BBC put out this time last year inviting tenders, was what was the new-look Mastermind going to turn out like?

Well, I will admit that I was worried, but actually reassured by the end of the show. Yes, there were some design changes. The font being used is bolder, and somewhat harsher and more serious. At the start of the show John’s podium and the chair podium are highlighted in white circles, and roundels with a large white M glow on the walls. However if anything this reflected what appears to be a more back to basics approach. The innovations of last year have been shown the door. Contenders once again sit in a row by the side of the chair, and the portal of portent is no more. Frankly, I can’t see it being missed. It also means there’s none of this nonsense about not telling the contenders what each one has scored. All to the good. A smaller cosmetic change is that the blue line of death is no more. Instead it’s more like the white filling of the border is sucked out of it as the last fanfare plays.

It’s far too early to tell if the change I most wanted to see is going to happen in this series, though. Put in most basic terms, and I apologise if this upsets anyone, last year’s series saw too many low scoring contenders in the first round. There is nothing in the least bit entertaining seeing a contender being way, way out of their depth, and struggling their way through a round, and I felt that a number of last year’s contenders should have been saved from themselves.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case for any of the contenders in this first heat. Kicking off the series was David Gerrard, answering on the History and Geography of the Lake District. This was one of three specialist subjects on this particular heat where my knowledge was extremely limited, and only general knowledge brought me a couple of points. David, on the other hand, took a fine 12 points and no passes, and I’ll be honest, judging by this first show, the question lengths seem to have slightly extended again – so much so that 12 looks like a mighty good score, and I would imagine 15 to be impossible.

The only subject that I really knew anything about in this show was The Novels of Sue Townsend, offered to us by Ned Pendleton, from Only Connect’s Road Trippers, and then I only know most of the Adrian Mole books. Still, that was enough to bring me 5 and save me from total specialist embarrassment in this heat. Ned, again, was a well prepared contender who knew his stuff, and also scored a very fine 12 and no passes.

Doctor Lucy Reynolds gave us the life and career of Dorothy Hodgkin. Now, I know enough about her that whenever a UC question contains the words “X Ray crystallography” and “Nobel Prize” I answer with her name. That’s about it, though. For the third time in a row, though, we had a very well prepared contender, who also scored 12 and no passes. What a good show so far.

Last to go in the specialist round was Emma Laslett. Emma last passed this way in the 2014 series, where she won her first round heat with a very high score, and lost out to 2018 champion Brian Chesney in the semi final. Emma  is by now an experienced TV quiz hand, and experience counts for a lot in this game. She couldn’t take an outright lead at this stage, but she too scored 12 and no passes on Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower “ series.

I don’t ask a lot. Give me 4 contenders who have all prepared thoroughly on their specialists, thus showing the chair the respect it deserves, and I’m happy. I’m even happier if they can all manage to put up a decent show on GK, but that remained to be seen.

David Gerrard certainly did that. Okay, 9 might sound a wee bit modest, not being in double figures, but I felt he gave his round a good old lash. If you end with a score in the 20s you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Would it be a winning score, though? I somehow doubted it.

With about 30 seconds to go, maybe even a little more, Ned Pendleton was on 21 and cruising, and a score of around 25 looked highly likely. However the last5 or 6 questions just were not to his liking, and he only managed to add one more point to the total. Two rounds in double figures, that’s good quizzing, but again, I didn’t quite see it being a winning score.

Lucy Reynolds put on another good performance, but a number of the questions she missed were the sort of questions the real challengers for the title would be able to answer correctly. For a while it looked as if she would maybe just equal Ned’s total, but a let spurt saw her just edge over the line with 11 to take the target to 23. That’s a good performance, and I say this because if you can’t blast the opposition away, the next best thing that you can do is score enough points to put them into the corridor of doubt.

If there was any doubt in Emma Laslett’s mind, though, she didn’t show it. In her previous first round in 2014 Emma scored 29, and I would say that the 15 she scored to earn 27 overall was a performance of similar stature, bearing in mind the miserly amount of questions the contenders are being given in their specialist rounds. It was by far the best round of the day, and is the benchmark against which contenders in forthcoming heats will have to be measured.

So John wrapped up proceedings, and then we got the real innovation for this series, a piece to camera by the winner, in this case Emma. Well, I’ve nothing against that per se, and coming at the end you can watch or not watch as the fancy takes you. Overall then, well, I have to say I found this show reassuring. That BBC document last year invited visions of viewers being invited to play along interactively at home, and other horrors, which thankfully we were spared. A cautious thumbs up to the latest revamp of the show.

The Details

David Gerrard
History and Geography of the Lake District
12
0
9
0
21
0
Ned Pendleton
The Novels of Sue Townsend
12
0
10
0
22
0
Lucy Reynolds
The life and career of Dorothy Hodgkin
12
0
11
0
23
0
Emma Laslett
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series
12
0
15
0
27
0

Where was I ?

Well, actually I was in Alicante for a fortnight, then Malta, which is why I'm three UCs and 2 Masterminds behind. I'm going to start writing and posting today, and I'll catch up as quickly as I can.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

University Challenge 2020 - Round 1 - Heat 1 - Lancaster v. Glasgow


Lancaster v. Glasgow

My cup overflows. Not only did the school term finish yesterday, but on Monday, University Challenge returned. Given the honour of being the first team to introduce themselves on this series were Lancaster, represented by Steven Ford, Daniel Green, Matt Roscoe and captain Holly Lawton. Their opposition came from Glasgow university. Fair play to the researcher who found out that the Doctor, from “Doctor Who” once claimed to have studied there (for purists he made the claim during the 1966 story, “The Moonbase”.) The team were Ben Whitcombe, Cat McAllister, Ben Whitworth and skipper Finlay McRobert.

Both teams showed commendable patience with the first question, waiting until the answer became obvious, at which point Ben Whitcombe buzzed in to supply the link between all the clues, the name Seth. Glasgow took the first two bonuses on Prime ministers and monarchs, but missed out on the gettable third. An early UC special starter saw Finlay McRobert work out clues to punt and punnet, which could obviously be formed from some of the letters of Neptune. Only one bonus on poverty followed. Ben Whitworth and I both got the next starter following JPs revelation of some of the cast members of the film version of the 1928 novel Orlando. Sets of Science answers, beginning with the consecutive letters A B C saw me take an early lap of honour for getting Arcturus, Betelgeuse and Castor for the second. As it happened I also got Ampere, Becquerel and Coulomb for the third answer. However, I believe that the IOC has instituted a ban on taking more than one lap of honour during any single UC match, so I remained in my seat. Blooming bureaucrats. Three consecutive starters had fallen to Glasgow, and I really felt that Lancaster needed to start slinging some buzzer, if only to break up Glasgow’s momentum. The Glasgow skipper was the first in to try his arm with the next starter, and correctly adjudged that the question was working its way through a number of clues towards Frederick the Great of Prussia. Bonuses on Wilfred Owen were something of a set of gimmes, and to be fair to Glasgow they had a full house. So to the first picture round of this series, and a straightforward starter saw us asked to identify the state highlighted on a partial map of the USA. Steven Ford made Lancaster’s first buzz of the match, with a quite close but no cigar answer of Kentucky. This allowed Ben Whitcombe in with the correct answer of Tennessee. Other maps showing locations with chemical elements named after them brought two more correct answers. This meant Glasgow had achieved a rare double, shutting out Lancaster completely and reaching 100, a triple figure score, by the ten minute mark.

Seemingly roused by his previous buzz, Steven Ford buzzed in with the far from absurd answer of surd to take the next starter. Ideal gases – that’s a new one on me – provided nowt for any of us. Still, at least Lancaster were in the black now. I did think that one of the teams might have had Christy Mahon as the protagonist in “The Playboy of the Western World” rather more quickly, but after both teams had mulled it over, Ben Whitworth buzzed correctly. The deaths of philosophers in an article in the Oxford Companion to Philosophy – sounds a barrel of laughs, that – brought 2 more correct answers. Ben Whitworth also took the next starter, knowing that the words ‘palace’ and ‘Marco Polo’ are the cue for an assault on the buzzer, and the answer ‘Xanadu’ – Kublai Khan’s Palace named in homage of the Olivia Newton-John movie, I believe. Right then, the next starter opened by asking which museum had satellite museums in various places. Frankly, I would have done what Glasgow did and guessed Guggenheim, but actually it was the Louvre. This set of bonuses was the first from which Glasgow failed to take any points. Poor old Lancaster couldn’t take any heart from that mind, since JP at this point tried to encourage them, and we all know what that means. So to the music starter, and the kind of classical music starter that I like, ie one that is bleedin’ obvious. Steven Ford won the buzzer race to identify the Blue Danube Waltz. Three more classical works that evoke waterways brought just the one bonus. Steven Ford continued to do the heavy lifting for Lancaster, guessing that Foster’s observation about smaller mammals increasing in size referred specifically to islands. Geometry was far more to Lancaster’s liking, and brought their first full house of bonuses. Their mini revival though was halted as Cat McAllister took her first starter with magic numbers. Ideal gases – Magic numbers ? What were we going to get next? Sexy metals? Well, the bonus set on people whose 4 letter surnames used Y as a vowel brought a couple of bonuses. The next starter asked for the animal on the British road sign which indicates a zoo. Ben Whitcombe was first in for that particular piece of low hanging fruit. The river Garonne provided no bonuses. This meant that at the 20 minute mark, the score stood at 155 – 55 to Glasgow. However, at least that proved that Lancaster had taken as many points in the second ten minutes as Glasgow had.

A great early buzz from Steven Ford identified Kansas City as being the name of settlements in the Show Me State and the Sunflower state. Good shout that. Vulcanologist Matt Roscoe gladly took a full house on Volcanoes. So to the second picture round. We saw a black and white still showing Gregory Peck, in glasses and a courtroom. “To Kill A Mockingbird” said I. So did Ben Whitcombe. Other films on the BFI list of films to see before you’re 14 brought a full house. Steven Ford knew that the Saha equation relates to stars, and the set of bonuses on surnames gave them the opportunity to take their score to triple figures. I’ll be honest, I only got the one of these, while Lancaster managed two. For the next starter, asking who wrote “Leaves of Grass”, Whitworth beat Whitcombe to answer Whitman. Parasitic plants brought both of us two bonuses. When JP started talking about Russell-Saunders coupling I wondered if my prediction about sexy metals was about to come true, but it was some Science thing requiring the letters L S. Neither team had that one. A good old quiz chestnut saw us asked for the single word name of the maidenhair tree. Both teams rather sat on their buzzers, before Daniel Green launched a speculative punt with Monkey Puzzle, but Glasgow couldn’t dredge up gingko to capitalise. Steven Ford, so admirably battling on his team’s behalf, was a little out with his next buzz, offering Charles Parnell instead of Gabriel Wolfe Tone. Sadly this lost 5 of his hard earned points. Ben Whitworth knew that one. Major cities of Brazil provided a couple more bonuses. There was just time for Ben Whitworth to take the last starter with Leonard Bernstein before the gong brought proceedings to a close. Glasgow won by 230 to 95.

Hard lines to Lancaster. They had some decent answers, and a conversion rate of over 60%. Special commiserations to Steven Ford, whose 5 starters made Lancaster respectable. Congratulations to Glasgow, though. That was a useful showing, with all 4 members taking at least 1 starter, and Messrs Whitcombe and especially Whitworth particularly impressing on the buzzer.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Well, there were just a couple of encouraging signs that the mellow Paxman of recent years still has a little fire in his belly. When asked for the American writer of the 1879 Progress and Poverty, Glasgow knew they didn’t have a Scooby, and did what you should do, lofting a hopeful punt skywards with the suggestion of Paine. If they meant Thomas, then they were quite a long way away. JP clearly seemed to think so. His eyebrows shot skywards, and he repeated the answer “Paine?!” as if holding it in a pair of tongs.

There was just a hint of irritation in the JP voice when Glasgow failed to get Cardinal Richelieu, or as he rather exaggeratedly pronounced it “Reeshleeyur”, which he then followed with the kiss of death for poor Lancaster “There’s plenty of time left to get going, Lancaster.” I’m sure he is only ever trying to be encouraging when he says this, but I doubt that it’s helpful because a) there isn’t lot of time left, less than half the show, and b) chances are they won’t get going.

His prickliness towards Lancaster when Steven Ford answered the first music bonus with “Smetana – Die Moldau” was evident as he sniffed, “Yes, I only needed the composer.”

I suppose it was only to be expected that he’d pass a comment like “Well Lancaster, you never really got a chance to show us what you were made of.” But it was rather unfair, nonetheless. They did have a chance, and Steven Ford certainly did. They were undone not by a lack of knowledge, but by a lack of buzzing – being brutal, they didn’t create their own chances. That’s the way it goes.

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week
Hassium was named after the state of Hesse

Friday, 14 June 2019

Mastermind 2019 - The Grand Final


Good morning to all. So, last night we reached the climax of the 2019 season. Firstly, though, it is only right to pay tribute to the late Hamish Cameron. I did not know that Hamish had passed away until a comment left on the blog a few days ago. I believe that Hamish passed away on the 6th of June. I cannot claim to have known him very well, but was fortunate to meet him when he was the stand in for my final. I believe that Hamish had participated as a contender in more episodes of Mastermind than anyone else, and the tribute paid to him at the end of the show, a true Mastermind, seemed to me to be very sincere and appropriate. Rest in Peace, Hamish.

Let’s have a look at the form shown by each finalist on their route to the final:-

Mark Grant
Keith Douglas
14
0
15
0
29
0
1951 Festival of Britain
13
0
13
0
26
0
Dave Cowan
Glamorgan CCC
12
0
15
0
27
0
The Life of Aneurin Bevan
10
0
11
2
21
2
Judith Lewis
The Life of C.S.Lewis
14
0
15
2
29
2
The Lord Peter Wimsey Novels of Dorothy L. Sayers
12
0
9
2
21
2
Hamish Cameron
John Knox
13
0
14
3
27
3
The Life and Times of Thomas Paine
8
1
13
1
21
2
Ian Orriss
Karl Gustav Mannerheim
13
0
15
1
28
1
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
10
0
11
0
21
0
Helen O’Connell
The History of Prague
12
2
18
2
30
2
The Plant Hunters
11
0
14
0
25
0

I’m not going to go back through my comments in my preview. But if you want to check them out after you’ve read this review, you’ll see that once again, Mystic Meg I am not.

Dave Cowan started us off. It’s become traditional to look at the filmed insert lottery, and Dave seemed to have done pretty well. You’ve always got a chance of getting a good trip for your insert if you take Hollywood film stars in the final, and Dave was answering questions on The Marx Brothers’ films. Dave had one of the lower aggregate scores for specialist from his two appearances so far, and he really needed to find his best form to give himself the chance of being up with the leaders at the business end of the competition. Well, his 10 points were good, but even this early in the contest you couldn’t help feeling that this was just not going to be enough.

Now, having lived and worked in Wales for over 3 decades, there is no way that I am going to say that Ian Orriss was anything other than a winner getting to travel to some extremely picturesque and historic parts of the Principality, before his round on Owain Glyndwr and his Revolt. Which come to think of it sounds just a little bit like the name of an indie band. Sorry. Ian’s round of 14 points was probably his best specialist round of the whole series so far, and you have to say that this was the right time to produce it. Suddenly my prediction was looking like utter nonsense. Ian was going to be in the shake up.

So, it turned out, was Judith Lewis. Before we got to see her round, though, we saw her enjoying a trip to Bucharest. Again, that’s a fine trip – I do love Central/Eastern Europe myself. Judith was answering on The Fortunes of War series by Olivia Manning. I’m sorry to say that I have neither read any of the books, nor seen any of the TV adaptations starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. But I didn’t need to know the works themselves to recognise what a towering specialist performance it is to manage a full house of 15 correct answers from 15 questions in a Mastermind Grand Final. Superb work.

Then to Mark Grant. Mark stayed a lot closer to home for his film, being as he was answering questions on the theatres of Frank Matcham. As for the insert lottery, well, Mark was in the West End of London, and I’m sorry, I might not have lived in London for a very long time, but I still think of myself as a Londoner, and so there is no way that I have any intention of saying that Mark in any way drew the short straw. As for his round, Mark always prepares thoroughly, but just once or twice seemed strangely hesitant. Actually, I say strangely, but I’ll make a point here. John Humphrys has the very annoying habit of sometimes qualifying a correct answer, thus wasting valuable time for the contender. He did it no less than FOUR times in the first minute of Mark’s round – and in one of them he did so just to include the word -the. Did it make any difference? Who can say, but it can’t make it any easier to build up a head of steam. Mark scored 12. At 3 points behind he wasn’t exactly out of it, but he was faced with a huge task if he was to win.

Another contender who I felt had a very good chance coming into the final was Helen O’Connell. Without question Helen was a winner in the insert lottery, since she got to visit the Sequoia National Park in California. This was highly appropriate, since her specialist subject was United States National Parks. That was a good subject to pick for a final, since it must have guaranteed her a trip across the pond. Helen produced her best specialist round to date, as she scored 14 to place her level with Ian and just one point behind Judith. It was shaping up to be an exciting GK round.

Finally Hamish, and for his insert film he got to travel to a rather grey and murky Paris. Still a very beautiful city, though, whatever the weather. Bearing in mind that I knew that this was his last Mastermind performance I was sentimentally rooting for Hamish, and hoped that he’d rip his round to shreds and join Judith with a perfect set. Well, he didn’t quite manage that. He did score 13 though, and although he was 2 points behind he was still very much in it. Indeed, as the choc ices and kia ora were being passed around, it seemed as if only Dave was so far off the lead that he was out of the running.

Which makes his GK round all the more impressive. Let’s call a spade a spade. You might be lucky getting to the semi final of Mastermind, but lightning rarely strikes in the same place twice. Mugs don’t get to Mastermind Grand Finals. This may well have been just me, but I felt that the general standard of the GK rounds in the final were a little harder than the semis, and I thought that any score in the teens on these sets was doing well. Dave added a good 13 to his total to take the target to 23. It wasn’t likely to be a winning total, but it was enough to open the corridor of doubt.

It's easy for me to say this now, but I reckoned that Mark needed 15 to give himself a realistic shout. He certainly came close. However a couple of hesitancies, and a couple of questions like the Widdicombe Fair one just didn’t go his way. He built up some real momentum in the last part of the round, but in the end had scored 14 to take the target to 26. 26 was certainly enough to make it interesting, and would mean that any of the remaining contenders would require good scores to take the lead. It didn’t quite look out of reach, though.

In his filmed insert Hamish seemed very happy and satisfied to have reached two Mastermind finals, and rightly so. By just over the one minute mark in his GK round it seemed unlikely that he would be going home with the trophy. His tactic seemed to be to pass quickly and keep banging in the ones he knew, and this brought him a double figure score. It was 11, though, and left him on 24.

So to Ian. Ian needed 13 to take the lead, and after the first minute he was definitely on target. In fact his first minute was extremely impressive, as he snapped out answer after answer, eating up the distance between himself and Mark. Mark’s finishing burst, though, meant that Ian had to keep fighting right up to the blue line of death. When it had finished drawing its noose around the score, Ian had taken the 13 points he needed. Whatever happened in Helen’s and Judith’s rounds, it was a round worthy of winning.

Helen O’Connell produced two brilliant GK rounds in the heat and again in the semi final. In fact if she could replicate her score from the semi final, where she scored 14, then she would take the lead. Sadly for Helen, she had one of those rounds where the question just refuse to fall for you, and you’re fighting it all the way to the finish line. Helen scored 9 points, to finish with 23. Very bad luck, it is just one of those things you have to take on the chin, I’m afraid.

In the semis, Judith had the only single figure GK round of any of the finalists, and it was this which had caused me to rule out her chances of winning the title and the bowl in my preview. Well, she could not have chosen a more pressured situation, or a better time, to prove me wrong. Without seeming to be going especially quickly she kept racking up the answers, and seemed a shoe-in as her total reached 26 with time to spare. Then she started to stumble a little, then found an answer to take her to 27. She had passed just the once. As it stood, on the last question she could answer it wrong and win on pass countback. What she could not do was pass. To put it beyond all doubt, she answered correctly. John, seemingly overwhelmed by what she’d done, told Judith straightaway that she’d won with 28 points, and forgot to say that she’d passed once, or to announce what the correct answer had been.

Many, many congratulations, Judith. I’m sorry to you, and also to Ian, for down playing your chances in my preview. It just goes to show how little I know when you get right down to it. Congratulations to all the contenders for making it such a close, even nail biting end to the series.

Congratulations also to Mark Helsby and the team for another highly enjoyable series, and indeed, thanks to you for what you have done with the show over the last few years. I know it’s all change for the next series, and I hope that it will continue to be made as well as you and your team have done during your time at the helm.

The Details

Dave Cowan
The Films of the Marx Brothers
10
3
13
1
23
1
Ian Orriss
Owain Glyndwr and his Revolt
14
0
13
2
27
2
Judith Lewis
The Fortunes of War series by Olivia Manning
15
0
13
1
28
1
Mark Grant
The Theatres of Frank Matcham
12
0
14
0
26
0
Helen O’Connell
United States National Parks
14
0
9
1
23
1
Hamish Cameron
Mary Cassatt
13
1
11
4
24
5