Friday, 4 September 2009

Mastermind - First Round Heat 2 / 24

This was our second chance to assess the effect of the slight format changes we saw for the first time last week. Once again I thought that the replacement of the inter-round chats with a short filmed insert at the start of the specialist rounds made for a tighter, faster, and more exciting show. Full marks to the team for having had the courage to make the change.

For the second week in a row 4 Mastermind virgins took to the chair. I did notice that , robbed of the chance to take contestants to task over their choice of subject, John this week was a little more caustic at the start of the show. In the introduction he announced Brian Allerdyce's subject as "The Beatles' Biggest Business Folly ", rather than giving its the official title of "The History of Apple Records". This , tonight's popular culture subject, was a nice little twist on the various permutations of possible Beatles related subjects. Some interesting answers, too. I must admit I have never heard Hot Chocolate's reggae rendition of "Give Peace a Chance", but Mr. Allerdyce certainly knew all about it. 12 seemed a good score, and he was by no means out of it by half time.

Will Salt offered us this week's traditional Mastermind subject, the Life and Times of Maximillian Robespierre. Mr.Salt's film gave him the chance to point out that although Robespierre may be a hero to some, he considers him the villain of the piece. He looked a little nervous in the chair, but he conjured up a very fine round, scoring 15 and 1 pass, and that, mark you, with some notably long questions.

Katie McCorkindale's trip to the chair brought us the first appearence of this series of the ever - popular 'obscure author' round . Alright, for all I know Paul Auster is not at all obscure, and extremely successful and respected. I just haven't heard of him before. According to wikipedia Mr. Auster is an american novelist whose works blend absurdism and crime fiction. Good trick if you can do it, as I guess he can. Katie McCorkindale went through the round confidently, allowing a little smile to cross her lips when she knew the answer before the question was finished, and to be fair, this happened quite a lot, as she finished with 11 and 1 pass. I think she was a little unlucky that John Humphrys had to qualify her answer "boats" with "Yes - ships in bottles". It just might have given her time for an extra question had he not.

Colin Wilson gave us the first sport round of the series, offering "World Heavyweight Boxing Champions 1882 - 1929. This is actually a subject that I think that I know a little bit about. Not as much as Colin Wilson does though. I know enough to be able to say that the scope of the questions was as wide as it could possibly be. He scored a magnificent 16, only dropping one question on the weight of boxing gloves for a particular fight, and led at the halfway stage. So for the second week running all 4 contenders produced good scores in their specialist rounds.

The effect of removing the chats has been to turn the GK rounds into even more of a furious and exciting devil's gallop than they were before. I have to say that I thought Katie McCorkindale's round was a little better than the score suggested, finishing as she did with 18. I wouldn't have been able to name the X-Ray fish either, though its not something I'll forget in a hurry now. Brian Allerdyce put on a very good performance to score thirteen, taking his score to 25 and 7 passes. Anything above 12 in GK is a really good performance. Once again, Will Salt looked terribly nervous as he began his round, but nerves certainly didn't seem to affect his performance as he too scored 13 , to set the target at 28. That's a great score, although at one stage he seemed to be going so well that he might have scored even higher. John Humphrys warned Colin Wilson as he sat down that he had a high score to beat, and indeed he fell a little short, scoring 9 . However at the moment this does leave him in pole position for one of the 6 extra semi final places, since these points were bought at the cost of no passes, and you never know, this might just make all the difference. So congratulations to Will Salt on a very strong all round performance, and special commiserations to Brian Allerdyce, whose 25 and 4 passes is a very fine score to come third with, even though being third means he cannot be in contention for a semi final place.

The Details
Brian Allerdyce The History of Apple Records12 - 313 - 425 - 7
Will SaltThe Life and Times of Maximillian Robespierre15 - 213 - 228 - 4
Katie McCorkindaleThe Fictional works of Paul Auster11 -17 - 318 - 4
Colin WilsonWorld Heavyweight Boxing Champions 1882 - 192916 - 09 - 025 - 0

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up
Colin Wilson25 - 0
William de'Ath25 - 4


Psidekick said...

I agree about the new format. My main objection to John Humphreys' chatter was that it seemed to put the contestants off. I noticed that the people who made interesting conversation often made mistakes at the start of the general knowledge round. Contestants who seemed dour and serious didn't get much hassle out of John and were calmer going into the second round.

Londinius said...

Hi Richard.
One other thing in favour of the new format is this. Now, everyone gets to talk about their subject, and to be seen doing so on screen. Last series there were quite a number of occasions when all John seemed to talk to the contenders about was their career. Of course this may just have been the editor's choice. Still it always looked like their were some subjects that John had no interest in whatsoever, which made it seem like all subjects were equal, but some were more equal than others.

madabootcoos said...

Hi Richard,

Thanks for setting up this website/blog.Very interesting.I'm trying to get hold of a list of the questions and answers for The History of Apple Records specialist subject.The episode is no longer available and the BBC's search engine isn't much use for this.It's the name of a bass guitar player I'm particularly interested in.Would you be able to help me? Many thanks.Joyce Tribble