Saturday, 10 January 2009

TV Watch - 10th January 2009

Yes, its the first regular TV Watch of 2009, albeit that quizzes are a little thin on the ground. Only Connect finished before Christmas, and Mastermind is still on its break. At least we have University Challenge to be thankful for.

University Challenge Monday 5th January 2009

Its the last match of the second round, and whether by accident or design its also by far the most exciting match of the round too. Last year's runners up, the University of Sheffield, played the University of Exeter. One side then another claimed the ascendancy, and with only a couple of minutes still to go Sheffield had their noses just in front. However an incorrect buzz and a five point deduction wrought the damage . It was a terrific match which neither side really deserved to lose. Still , we now know the 8 teams through to the quarter finals. In order of points scored they are : -

St. John's College Cambridge345
Corpus Christi College Oxford295
Manchester University280
Lincoln College Oxford280
London School of Economics270
Queen's College Cambridge205
City University185
Exeter University175

By my reckoning that's an even split between Oxbridge and others. Believe it or not the odds militate against an Oxbridge win. There have been 14 champions since the show was revived by the BBC in 1995. Amazingly, only the first - Trinity College - has been a Cambridge College. Oxford has produced 6 wins - but then three of those were all Magdalen. 2 London University Colleges - Birkbeck and Imperial have won, and Imperial have won twice. The Open University, Durham, Warwick and Manchester all have a win as well. So it really does seem that there is no Oxbridge bias, just as the makers of the show say. You'd have to say , though, that this St. John's team look as good a prospect for a Cambridge win as any team in many a long year.

In It To Win It

This isn't the kind of show that I'd normally comment on, but its been a thin week TV wise, and I did watch it, so here we go. This is not a show where you'd expect to see serious quizzers contesting it - I know some who audition, but precious few seem to get on. So I won't comment on questions the contestants slipped up on, since these seem mostly just members of the public, giving it their best shot. Good luck to them. Yes, OK, with a couple of exceptions the questions were on the easy side, but then this was never meant to be on a par with The Brain of Britain. It moved along at a decent pace, and I actually felt genuinely sorry for the contestants who missed out on a share of the money. As an aside, my son Michael had an audition for this show, but didn't get through. Shame.

Mastermind Plant Cymru

I'm afraid that my welsh is in no way good enough to enable me to review the show. Still, its the Grand Final on Sunday 11th, and I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the children in the final.

Brain of Britain

Another superb semi final saw newest Egghead Barry Simmons come through in the last round with a full five correct answers and bonus to book his place in the final. Well done sir ! What a final this promises to be. Out of interest, finalists Geoff Thomas and Barry Simmons met in the first semi final of Mastermind 2006 ( I was in the audience as a stand-in ) - and Geoff won and went on to take the title. What price on Barry reversing that result ? Not forgetting that there will be two other finalists as well, of course. I can't wait.

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