Friday, 30 January 2009

The Return of Mastermind

Mastermind First Round Heat 15/24

Good grief, but it seems like a long time since heat 14 was shown. And in fact, it is a very long time indeed, some 8 weeks by my reckoning. Would the BBC treat any other show in this fashion, I wonder ? I mean, it was bad enough when they did it to my series last year, but at least there were only another 4 heats or so to be shown after the midwinter break before the semis. There's still another 9 heats after tonight. I honestly don't think that it does the series as a whole any favours. Still, I should probably stop moaning, and get on with reviewing tonight's show.

4 newcomers took to the chair in tonight's heat. A pleasingly mixed bag saw a rather hearty but down to earth vicar answer questions on british punk, a retired teacher take on the 1902 Ashes series, a historian answer on A. E. Houseman,and a much travelled young teacher expound on the Trans Siberian Railway. I was impressed with Robert Collard's knowledge of the trans Siberian Railway, but he was rather found out on the GK. John Rigby needn't be at all ashamed of his 21.In the Humphrys era, anything over 20 is a decent enough score. Reverend Duncan Swann spoke engagingly about his love of punk, and then produced the best GK round of the night, scoring 13 to finish on 26, a good performance overall, which might well have won him an easier heat. It didn't quite win this one though. Edward Pearce scored a fine 16 on A.E.Houseman. He started like an express train in his GK, but hit a bit of a pass spiral in the mid section of the round. As happens so often, he who holds his nerve can win the day, though, and he steadied the ship and scored the 11 needed to take the win. Boy, didn't he look relieved when John Humphrys told him his score ! I like that. There's nothing wrong with showing that the win means something to you.

Its been a few weeks since I've had the opportunity to say this, so I'm going to say it again now. First round form is such an unreliable guide to semi final performance that its very difficult to make any predictions. However I'd venture to say that Mr. Pearce wouldn't be one of my favourites to reach the final. I don't think there's much room for improvement in his specialist score, and there are a number of qualifiers for the semis already who have seemed more impressive on GK. 11 is a fair score for GK, but he did show some areas of weakness. However, as last year showed, anyone can win a semi if they pull out their best form, so you never know. I wish him good luck.

The Details

Duncan Swann British Punk of the late 1970s13 - 213 - 0 26 - 2
John Rigby The Ashes Series of 1902 12 - 0 9 - 3 21 - 3
Edward PearceThe Life and work of A.E.Houseman16 - 111 - 4 27 - 5
Robert CollardThe Trans Siberian Railway13 - 35 - 2 18 - 5

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