Friday, 2 October 2009

Mastermind - First Round Heat 6/24

After last week’s excitement at seeing Mike Hely , who had last competed in the inaugural series of 1972, we were once again dealt a complete hand of Mastermind virgins tonight.

Tonight’s first contender to face what John Humphrys called “the short but daunting walk to the black chair “ was Chloe Stone, a part time teacher. If I have this correct, then no less than 8 champions have been schoolteachers, and another five have been University or College lecturers. That’s not including the 3 radio 4 champions, but only because I don’t have any record of their occupations, and no slight is intended there. So Chloe Stone had quite a lot to live up to. She was answering questions on “The Cazalet novels of Elizabeth Jane Howard” . Before you ask, yes, I have definitely heard of Elizabeth Jane Howard, so this does not qualify as an obscure authors round. I liked Chloe Stone’s technique. There was no nonsense wasting time over questions she didn’t know the answer to, no. Such questions were met with a firm and decisive ‘pass’, which ensured that she got through no less than 19 questions in the round, scoring a fine 14.

Shaun Deehan followed, answering on “The Life and Times of John Hume”. John Hume you will remember was the former leader of the SDLP, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In his film Mr. Deehan described him as a man who went into politics for the right reason. In the round of questions itself it rather seemed to me that Mr. Deehan was a little better on the politics rather than the life, but he managed 9 points by the end of the round.

Ron Ragsdale was offering the potentially huge specialist subject of Egyptology. Mr. Ragsdale’s accent suggested a well travelled man, and indeed he said that he had learned about his subject while actually living in Egypt, and looked on Mastermind as “A good opportunity to test my knowledge”. Yes, Mastermind will certainly do that for you. About halfway through the round Mr. Ragsdale lost his way somewhat, falling into the dreaded pass spiral, and the round never really recovered from this hiatus. He ended the round with 8.

It had been a rather highbrow week so far, but at least Joe Docherty offered us an entertainment subject, even if this was one with precious few laughs, as it happened. His subject “British New Wave Cinema” focussed on a generation of gritty British film dramas, which he explained that British cinema had no option after the war but to film in black and white. This was a pretty wide ranging round. The only film mentioned in the questions that I’ve actually seen was “This Sporting Life” but I managed to answer a good half dozen through knowledge of authors, etc. Of course, Mr. Docherty did considerably better than this, scoring 14 .

A somewhat shellshocked-seeming Ron Ragsdale kicked off the GK round. In truth he was given a very fair set of questions, but he struggled , and finished with 14. By way of comparison Shaun Deehan was given what seemed to me to be a rather tough set of GK, and coped admirably to take his total to 21. Yes, this is just my opinion, and I know that they are all easy if you know the answers. Speak as you find, and I found that Mr. Deehan put up a good performance on GK.

Chloe Stone, then , came to the chair knowing that if she was going to win, then she would have to do it on GK. Which didn’t seem to upset her one little bit. Granted that in my opinion her GK round seemed slightly easier than Mr. Deehan's, still she showed a good width of knowledge to confidently handle the round, and post a fine score of 12 to set the target at 26. Even if this could be beaten, it still gave her a very good chance of claiming a runner up semi final spot.

Joe Docherty was less than a minute into his GK round, and I’m afraid that he already looked unlikely to reach the target. Was his round tougher than Chloe Stone’s ? Maybe, maybe not, but you have to say that her performance was better, as Mr. Docherty fell somewhat short, levelling out at 22.

So, well done Chloe Stone. 26 is a fine score, and this was a good performance. Her chances in the semi finals should not lightly be dismissed, even though John Humphrys seemed none too impressed, saying “She held on, Chloe Stone !” Sorry to correct you there, John, but a 4 point win is hardly just holding on.

The Details

Chloe Stone The Cazalet Novels of Elizabeth Jane Howard14 - 512 - 326 - 8
Shaun DeehanThe Life and Times of John Hume9 - 211 - 420 - 6
Ron RagsdaleEgyptology8- 46 - 414- 8
Joe DochertyBritish New Wave Cinema14 - 08 - 522 – 5

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
William de'Ath25 - 4
Vishal Dalal23 - 4
Joe Docherty22 – 5
Adam Lister/Mike Hely 21 - 5


Thesiger said...


I was one of the contestants in this heat and can let you know that the charming and educated winner, Chloe Stone, may be a Mastermind virgin, like myself, but is no stranger to TV quizzes.

Chloe Stone (Mastermind 2 October) is a former Eggheads winner (with her team, Densa) .

Densa won the 26th episode of Series 4 on 22 November 2005, winning £20,000.

Keep up the good work. I do enjoy your blogs.


Londinius said...

Hello Joe,

Thanks for your comments and your information. I have to admit that Chloe Stone certainly shaped up like an old hand at the game on last Friday's show.Winning on Eggheads is a considerable achievement.

Congratulations to you on your performance, especially your excellent specialist round. Anything in the mid teens is top quizzing.Even when its a subject you have a deep interest in, learning a subject to that depth really requires a considerable amount of preparation.

I do hope that you enjoyed your Mastermind experience, and thank you very much for your comments about the blog. I do get a lot of pleasure from it, and its a real joy to me when people such as yourself take the time and trouble to tell me that you enjoy it.