Friday, 8 February 2019

Mastermind 2019 - Heat 16


Let us begin, if we may, with a word of congratulations to Hat Trick and Hindsight productions, who won the bidding process for the right to produce Mastermind in Belfast for the next two seasons. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you do with the show, although would like to make an early plea, on behalf of fans, that you don’t make changes just for change’s sake.

So to last night, and let’s begin by paying tribute to the fact that we had 4 credible contenders, which to my mind made for a better show, as it certainly made for a better contest. Just my opinion, and as always, feel free to disagree.

First up was Oliver Forrest. Now, for no particular reason I don’t think that I’ve ever watched a Wes Anderson film. I certainly hadn’t watched any of them which were the basis of questions in Oliver’s round. So my score remained at 0 throughout. Oliver, on the other hand, did extremely well, and had it not been for one question that got away from him this was a pretty much perfect specialist performance. As I was banging on about last week, preparation, thorough preparation can’t guarantee you a perfect score, but my goodness it makes a difference.

This was proven again in Lesley Bowen’s round on King Richard III. This provided me with the chance to get off the mark, and I was quite pleased with myself to score 8 – mind you, I always get annoyed with myself if I can’t get a half decent score on Kings and Queens. They were not all gimmes by any stretch of the imagination , and Lesley really knew her stuff to score 14. Game on.

Another specialist subject very much to my liking was offered by Phil Robinson. I owe qute a bit to the England rugby team. In the late 70s, discovering International Rugby turned the younger me from someone who didn’t understand sport, and thought it was all pretty pointless into a real armchair sports fan, and set me on the path in which I’d eventually play rugby for my school, for Goldsmiths, and for a local club. Throughout the 1990s right up until 2003, there were worse places to live and work than Wales if you were an England rugby supporter. So I was hoping to do well, and another 8 was added to my score. Phil showed a good depth of knowledge to amass his own 12 points, and at 2 behind he was still very much in contention.

The specialist rounds last night were strangely symmetrical for me, as I didn’t score on the first, and I didn’t score on the last either. I’ve never read any novel by Nancy Mitford. I caught an episode or two of an ITV adaptation of Love in a Cold Climate years ago, and it didn’t send me running off to the local library, if truth be told. So I can’t comment on the level of questions in the round. I can comment on the quality of the answers though, and Rachael Charman did extremely well, finishing with 13, and being right on the joint leaders’ shoulders as we turned into the back straight.

Well, could we top off a high quality specialist round with an equally good GK round? Maybe not quite, but it was a pleasure to see that all 4 contenders produced at least respectable performances. First to return was Phil. Now, all contenders have to face the fact that there are likely to be questions in their GK round to which they don’t know the answer. So you have to decide – guess or pass? Passing is a valid tactic if you do it quickly enough, and it seemed to me that Phil had decided if he didn’t know it instantly, then he was going to pass. It did seem to mean that he maintained some momentum throughout the round, which saw him into double figures. He added 10 to his score to take him to 22.

I don’t know if she was inspired by watching Phil, but it transpired that Rachael would use exactly the same tactic in her round – passing quickly – which had a very similar result. She too scored 10, but having started a point to the good, she took the lead with a total of 23.

Oliver Forrest is a former UC competitor. So although a Mastermind virgin he does at least have this much background in quizzing, and I fancied he’d have the drive and focus to amass the 10 points he’d need to take the outright lead. He actually did slightly better, taking 12 points for a total of 26 overall.

All of which made Lesley’s task pretty clear. The least she needed was 12 and no passes to force a tie break. Anything better she’d win outright, anything worse and no dice. Lesley too was adopting the strategy of passing, although not so crisply and quickly as Phil or Rachael, and by the end of the round she’d fallen a little way short, adding 9 to her total for 23. Well played to Oliver, and best of luck in the semis, but well played all 4 contenders.

The Details

Oliver Forrest
The Films of Wes Anderson
14
0
12
0
26
0
Lesley Bowen
Richard III
14
0
9
8
23
8
Phil Robinson
The England Rugby Team Since 1945
12
1
10
7
22
8
Rachel Charman
The Novels of Nancy Mitford
13
0
10
7
23
7

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