Friday, 28 November 2008

TV Watch - 28th November

Mastermind - Heat 13/24

So we begin the second half of the heats.We've yet to see a score of 30 or more this series, but alas, no such pyrotechnics await tonight. I think we have 4 Mastermind virgins in this all male line up. However, the third contender, Martin Nichols, has the same name as a contender from 1976. Are they one and the same person ? Its possible, but then Mr. Nichols would have been an extremely young contender at the time if indeed 'twas him. So on balance I think not.

So, on to the show. Stuart Macdonald raced off to lead at the halfway stage with 14. Poor Mr. Nichols found his knowledge of the Arthur C. Clarke ( and Gentry Lee ) Rama novels melting into oblivion, and it was only on the last question that he managed to score his 4th point. Worthy of mention too is my favourite unusual specialist subject of this series so far - as Karl Byrne answered on Rare Breeds of British Farm Animals.

In a week when all of the general knowledge rounds seem very fair and balanced nobody really impressed. Mr. Nichols found a little redemption, getting into double figures to score 11 for the round and 15 overall. At least this meant that for a couple of minutes he was actually in the lead. Mr Geoffrey Lim, a very well travelled student originally from Singapore struggled his way to 16. Karl Byrne then pushed the target to 19, but Stuart Macdonald powered his way past this, levelling out at a combined score of 26. So he has a chance - although I think he'll need to do a bit better on GK to have a good chance of reaching the finals.

The details

Stuart MacdonaldGenghis Khan14 - 012 - 226 - 2
Geoffrey LimGothic Architecture
of the 12 and 13th centuries
10 - 24 - 216 - 4
Martin NicholsThe Rama Novels of Arthur C. Clarke
and Gentry Lee
4 - 311 - 215 - 5
Karl ByrneRare Breeds of British
Farm Animals
12 - 47 - 519 - 9

University Challenge

An all-Cambridge match up this week. St. John's - so impressive in the first round, took on Kings. Actually it wasn't much of a match, since the rampant St. John's team scored 345 to Kings' 125. At least JP had the decency to thank them for the enjoyment their earlier performances had given us in this series. On this kind of form you would fancy St. John's have as good a chance of winning the series as any, and a match between them and the LSE would be very worth watching.

Only Connect

This week's second round match saw The Bankers take on the IT Supporters. Much as I like this show - and I really do - I have to admit that often I'm a little way behind the teams in working out the connection, but tonight I thought that the teams made a little heavy weather out of some of the connections, and the wall. Still, it was another exciting match up, with a tie break to finish, which saw the captain of the Bankers clinch the win by recognizing the phrase - Veni Vidi Vici with the vowels removed. Its got to the stage with this show that I make sure that I never miss it - although I will miss it very much when the series ends. I can only hope that the Beeb will make another series, and give it a chance to find an audience on terrestrial TV.

Are You An Egghead ?

Well, its getting serious now. After tonight's show we're down to 3 contenders. Mark Kerr took a huge step towards the prize by beating Pat Gibson to earn his place in the semi. This will be the next to be shown next week, when he will face 2004 Mastermind champion Shaun Wallace. Shaun keeps winning, and even though he does drop the odd clanger in his explanations to some of his answers - eg - "There are only three men who've won the Tour de France 5 times " - there's actually 5 - even despite this he is a formidable competitor in this quiz format. So who will get to the final is anybody's guess. Still, after tonight we know that he'll be facing the might of Barry Simmons, who beat David Rainford, the People's Favourite, tonight. Whoever wins , you certainly can't begrudge them their success. This show must be hard going for the contestants - and I'm sorry to say it, but at times its pretty hard going for the audience. Are they going to do anything different for the Final, I wonder ? Oh well, I'm guessing that by this time next week it will all be over.

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