Saturday, 3 January 2009

Mel Smith - UC Night - Elthorne High School Mastermind

I'm pleased to be able to follow up my comments on Mel Smith's worrying appearance on sleb MM4. Apparently I wasn't the only person who thought he seemed worryingly ill when he appeared on New Years Eve. This from the Daily Mail,

" A BBC spokesman said : "Mel was unwell on the day of the recording with a serious throat infection. He was representing a charity and didn't want to let them down. We were grateful he went ahead with the recording despite not being at his best. "

Get well soon Mel.

I haven't been to another quiz since last Sunday, and that was a quiz in Welsh, so was far from a typical quiz experience for me. So I've been having to live vicariously even more than usual through TV quizzes this last fortnight or so. I watched the BBC's University Challenge night last week, and quite enjoyed it, even though there wasn't a lot that was all that fresh on the menu. I've seen the documentary before, and also the Comic Relief North v. South special. I love the Young Ones episode with the Scumbag College v. Footlights College Oxbridge University Challenge - well I love all of them - but again its something I've seen many times. This wasn't Griff's first time playing Bamber Gascoigne. He'd also played him a couple of years earlier on "Not The Nine O'Clock News" in a sketch based on UC - HM Prisons Challenge ( umm - was it Reggie 'The Dog' Trubshawe ? ) I was glad that they put the film "Starter for Ten " on afterwards - I read the novel a few years ago, but this was the first time I've seen the film.

It all bought back the regret I still feel that I never got on University Challenge. Its not strictly my fault, mind. Goldsmiths College, University of London, is my alma mater, and we never had a team in the series for all of my 3 years - 84 - 86. What surprised me even more, though, is a little bit of research reveals that we have never had a team reach the televised stages of the competition. As far as I know the same arrangement works for London as for Oxford and Cambridge - individual colleges apply separately. I don't think that this happens for Durham, though, which is interesting. I suppose there is always UC The Professionals, but then there's all the hassle of getting a team together. Or alternatively I could enroll for a degree in the Open University. Having said that its a bit drastic just to get onto UC, albeit that its the show I would love to go on more than any other I haven't been on.

I was contacted by one of my teachers through Friends Reunited a week or so ago. During my last three years in the school, we ran our own "Mastermind" competition. I won the inaugural running of it in 1981, performed abysmally in 1982, and was respectably mid table in 1983. The 1983 performance was all the more remarkable considering that it was run on the evening of the same day that I heard I had an unconditional offer of a place at Goldsmiths, and so by the time the competition started I was, not to put too fine a point on it, drunk.

Geoff, the teacher, contacted me to say that his friend Clive, who'd been the question master, had found a recording of one of the contests. The fact was that they'd been recorded, and broadcast on local hospital radio. So, lets see if you can guess which contest live found. Would it be 1981, where I won ? Nope. Would it be 1983 where I did respectably ? I should cocoa. No, it was none other than the 1982 contest, where I failed dismally , and alright, I might not have come last, but certainly was way down the bottom half of the draw. You probably won't be surprised when I say that I turned Geoff down.

No comments: