Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Radio Listen - Brain of Britain

Brain of Britain – first round heat 8/12

Christmas is coming, and so is the end of the first round of matches, as we glide seamlessly into the last third of this year’s heats. Make no mistake about it, in terms of broadcast quizzes BoB is very much a blue riband event, and the quality of competitors this year in the first round has been excellent so far, as indeed it has for as long as I can remember.

So on Monday’s show we had another set of contestants from the Midlands – a very vague and loose term as far as BoB is concerned, since the 4 competitors were Una Adams from Corby, Jim Cook from Stourport on Severn, Simon Pitfield from Birmingham and Maurice Workman from Edgbaston. In terms of previous form, to my knowledge Jim Cook was a finalist in Mastermind in 2004, where he came 4th in the show which was won by The Chase’s own Shaun Wallace.

Mr. Workman took the lead in the first round with some nifty work on the buzzer to snap up a couple of bonuses. Mr. Cook turned on the afterburners for the second round, though , with a full five question and bonus run. None of the contestants recognised Otterino Respicci’s Fountains of Rome in a music question, and so the Trevi Fountain went begging for Simon Pitfield. What a difference this round made. Jim Cooke now had 10, and a lead of 5 over Maurice Workman.

Russell Davies again proved what a brilliant choice of host he is by suggesting that the letters CQD, which were the international distress call sign before SOS was adopted, may actually have stood for “Come Quick – Drowning !” Well, it made me laugh.

Great listener question – which US states are East – West – South and Northernmost. Alaska, apparently , has an island the other side of the International Date Line, so it is both West and Easternmost ! Well worth a book token for that one.

Jim Cook pushed on through the 4th round, and although he didn’t get another full set he was still scoring freely. He had 15, and a 9 point lead. If he maintained this gap until the last round, then he was home and dry. Still, in round 5 he failed to get his first question, which left just a little glimmer of a chance for the others. Simon Pitfield is not the kind of chap to think twice about such a chance, and he answered a great set of five, to push himself 6 points closer to Jim Cook. He wasn’t quite breathing down Jim Cook’s neck, but he was close enough to make him uncomfortable. His last question of the set asked him to identify Kraftwerk’s 24 minute long song “Autobahn” –a record which Russell Davies wryly observed was enough to lead listeners to ask – Are we nearly there yet ? – I don’t know how much the BBC are paying Russell Davies, but its not enough !

Jim Cook kept his nerve , and his lead, and in the end ran out winner with an impressive 20 points to Simon Pitfield’s 16. !6 though puts Simon Pitfield firmly into contention for a runner up place in the semis.

The Details

Una Adams – 8
Jim Cook – 20
Simon Pitfield – 16
Maurice Workman - 8

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