I don’t know if you recall Michael Burton’s appearance on mastermind a couple of weeks ago. He’s the guy who answered questions on Angels, and equalled the lowest ever total score on the show. At the time I said that I thought that his attitude, one of laughing in the face of disaster as he took the seat for his GK round was a commendable one.
An article a couple of days ago in The Daily Mail saw him claim that this was actually deliberate, and that the whole thing was a prank. If you’d like to read the article itself you can follow this link : -
Daily Mail Article
Oh Michael ! I don’t know whether to laugh with you, laugh at you, or just tut in suppressed frustration. I’m not saying that he isn’t telling the truth. However if the man really is telling the truth, I am saying that there’s a couple of things in the article that have just the whiff of the stale pork pie about them. For instance,
“He claimed that when you go on the show you are given three encyclopedia style books to read on your specialist subject and he read just one.”
Well, if he did say such a thing, I’d like to know when they started doing that. In both series when I took part in the show it was me telling them which books I was reading, which you have to disclose in a document they send you along with your contract. They certainly never offered me any help in revision at all, which is the way that it should be.
Then again we had,
“He said: 'I was told by one of the producers on the second round (of preliminaries) that I had scored very highly.'”
I’m sorry, Michael ? Come again ? Second round of preliminaries, you say ? Since when did they do a second round of preliminaries ? I had one audition for 2006, and one audition for 2007. That was it. I don’t recall them telling me how well I had scored on the questions either.
I’m sorry , Michael, but I also recall the look on your face and the sweat on your brow as you were trying to answer those questions. Not the face of a man who is in on the joke, I’m afraid. One other thing while I’m at it as well. You compare yourself to Jeremy Beadle. Well, I’m sorry, but the late great Beadlebum was a great quizzer, who actually won Sleb Mastermind. Yes, he loved a prank. But his pranks weren’t the kind that , after they had been carried out, he’d have to explain that anything had actually happened. You see, Michael, had you answered lets say 7 out of your first 10 questions, and never answered another , or passed on the rest – now THAT’s a prank. Had you deliberately answered all the questions wrong – now THAT’s a prank. Case in point – in 1975 on University Challenge, a team from the University of Manchester answered Trotsky, Lenin , Che Guevara to every starter question. Now THAT’s a prank. Not doing terribly well just doesn’t really register on the prankometer.
Having said that, I really like you for having a go with this, Michael.I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear a bit more about you. Even though you’re trying to make a programme which is very important to me look stupid, and trying to act as if you’ve somehow fooled a team of hardworking and dedicated people, I like you for giving it a lash. I'd like to even see you back on the show, as the article seemed to say that the team have promised you another go. I’d like it even more now if you came out and said that your claim that this was a prank was, in fact, a prank.