Ahead of tonight's show I thought that I'd post about a topic that has been sparking some very interesting comment on the IQAGB website today. This is the inter-round chat interval that has been so much a part of the John Humphrys era of Mastermind.
In the late Magnus Magnusson's day, there was nothing more personal in the way of chat than Your name and your profession. I can't help feeling that we were better off when it was like this. Now, don't misunderstand me. The production team put a hell of a lot of time and effort into getting angles that John Humphrys can talk to you about your subject, and I think they genuinely want you to look like more than someone who has just absorbed a book on your specialist topic. But it doesn't always make for very interesting telly. While its ok when you're the one participating in the chat, its excruciating if you're one of the other contenders, just waiting, and it goes on for quite a bit longer than the edited version you eventually get to see in the broadcast version.
Do we need it, anyway ? After all, you don't get it in competitive sport, do you ? Yes, after the match you might grab the participants for a brief, snatched interview, but not before or during. Think of it,
" So, Tiger Woods, you're about to start your opening round in this year's U.S. Masters tournament. So, tell us if you would, what's this green jacket nonsense all about then ? "
We all know that there are shows where they are far more interested in your personality than in your knowledge or ability. But please, Mastermind ? Give us a break. If personality was that important, then I'm sure I would have had little or no chance.
Watch this space for a review of tonight's show.