Monday, 7 December 2009

Radio Listen - Brain Of Britain

Brain of Britain – First Round Heat 9 / 12

Well, a slight departure for my review of this week’s Brain of Britain. In all the other shows I’ve reviewed so far in the series, I heard them on the radio. With today’s show, dear reader, it was rather different since the fact is that I was there, and actually witnessed the recording in the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House in London. How did this happen, you may ask ? Simply because I was awaiting my own appearance in heat 10, which was recorded immediately after today’s.

However, that’s Heat 10, and its not due to be aired until next week, and so back to the serious business of Heat 9. The four contestants, who were all from the South of England, were: -
William Barney from Rochester
Ian Bayley from Oxford
Maya Davis from Brighton
Chris Miller from High Wycombe,
and I can vouch for the fact that they are all very nice indeed. In case you’re wondering Ian Bayley is indeed the same Ian Bayley who was such a gallant runner-up in the last season of Mastermind. A formidable competitor indeed.

Not that he had it all his own way in the first round. William Barney showed some nifty buzzer work in the first round to take a couple of bonuses to add to his own answer, and he led the first round. However it was all very much the Ian Bayley show after this. Round two brought Ian his first set of five and a bonus, and not only that, but he showed irresistible form on the buzzer, to score 9 points in that round alone. By the break for the listener’s questions, he had stretched his score to 15. William Barney had added a couple of his own points, but Maya Davis and Chris Miller were finding points hard to come by.

The listener’s first question referred to the first line of Edward Lear’s poem about The Yonghi Bonghi Bo, which begins with the line,
“On the coast of Coramandel. . . “ and asked where the coast of Coramandel is. The team were close, going for the South West coast of India, while its on the South East. The second question – what is the name of the South West Coast of India was given short shrift, and the answer “Malabar Coast “ was rendered without undue ceremony.

Ian only added another 3 points in round 4, but made up for it with another 5 and a bonus in round 5. Maya Davis started to find range, and in fact all of the competitors began to add to their scores in the last 2 rounds, but not, I’m afraid, with any great hope of getting anywhere near Ian, or reaching a score in the teens to give them a hope of a runners up slot in the semis. For the record, Ian scored 33 by the end of the contest, surely a hall of fame score.

Russell Davies was as witty, charming and amusing as ever. After asking a question about which group deliberately misspelled words in the titles of their top 10 singles in the 70s – Slade - he made the wry observation that the hits started drying up when they began to spell them correctly. I don’t care – they were great.

In case you’re wondering – no – I am not going to tip Ian Bayley as the favourite to win the series. However, I think I should add that I did promise Ian before the show that I would not put the hex on his chances by tipping him, and a promise is a promise. So let me merely congratulate him on a magnificent performance, that I am sure left other people in he audience as awed as it left me.

The Details

William Barney – 10
Ian Bayley – 33
Maya Davis – 10
Chris Miller - 7

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