Friday, 8 January 2010

Mastermind - First Round Heat 13/24

Was it Shelley who once wrote - If Mastermind returns, can Spring be far behind ? No it wasn’t, but I’m sure that if the show, and indeed television had been around in the early 19th century its just the sort of thing he might have written. Still, on this bitter Friday evening, with nothing other than the prospect of more snow on Sunday to look forward to, the return of real Mastermind at least brings a warm glow to those parts that other quizzes cannot reach.

After the free scoring jamboree that was Celebrity Mastermind, tonight’s show represented a bit of a sudden return to Earth. Or perhaps a better way of putting it would be a return to reality. For it must be remembered that a set of celebrity questions are somewhat easier than a set of proper Mastermind questions. No that’s not just my opinion. John Humphrys actually said it to the studio audience in a break during filming of the 2007 final. So with that in mind, lets be about our business.

Beryl Maddison was the first person to take the short walk to the black chair tonight. She was answering questions on Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and there’s a great Mastermind subject if ever I heard one. In her filmed insert Beryl Maddison paid tribute to the engineering legacy Brunel left behind in the West Country, and Bristol in particular. Not that the questions she was asked didn’t cover a lot more ground than that, and considering the man had such a huge and varied career 11 points didn’t look that bad at all.

I felt for Mark Sutton who followed Beryl into the chair. You could tell from his filmed insert that he obviously knows his stuff about the islands of Micronesia. Yet his round really failed to ignite, and he looked more, rather than less nervous as the round went on. John Humphrys seemed as sympathetic to the poor chap as we were, accepting a partial answer to the last question rather than insisting on the full monty as it were.

Barry Ketchell , our third contender tonight, was answering questions on the Life and Career of Johnny Ray. If that subject elicits the response – Johnny Who ? – from you, well, I think that all I need say is that my mother, who is 70 years old, was in love with him when she was a teenager. Enough said there, I think. Barry Ketchell put it rather more positively when he described him as the singer who came between Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. I think that perhaps he was expecting a little more on the music and a little less on the life, still he managed to answer 9 correctly.

Last but not least came regular LAM reader and one time Ealing resident Jesse Honey. Jesse’s round on The London Borough of Wandsworth has already been the subject of an article in a local paper, since it’s the first time that anyone has taken a London Borough for a specialist subject. I like to think that I know a bit about London, but I honestly had no idea that the borough had such a rich and varied history within its borders. Jesse did , though, and his 14 was easily the pick of the specialist rounds tonight.

I’d got used to having the inter round chats during the sleb shows, so it actually came as a real treat to go straight into the GK rounds and just get on with it. Poor Mark Sutton looked as if he was still a little shell shocked after his specialist round, and fell into a pass spiral. He managed to take his score to 14. Barry Ketchell had a hard round to negotiate, and found the points hard to come by. Like Mark Sutton before him, he also ended with 14 points. These Gk rounds all seemed to me a little on the tough side tonight, although that may be just in comparison with the sleb MM rounds. Beryl Maddison returned to the chair, and she too failed to get into double figures, although her 7 points took her safely clear, and for the time being at least she was into the lead with 18 points. Not enough for a runners up semi slot, though.

Jesse Honey is a great quizzer who was ranked in the top 3 in the UK at the end of 2009, so I have to say that I had no fears about his performance in the GK round. I was playing along from the comfort of the Clark sofa, with no pressure on me, but Jesse still scored one more than I did on quite a long winded and tricky set of questions. His 13 meant that he won by 9 points, and John Humphrys certainly seemed impressed. I’m not going to scupper Jesse’s chances by burdening him with the Clark tip at this stage, but I will say that this was a classy performance, and he looks well set to challenge in the semis. Good show, and well played.

The Details

Beryl Maddison Isambard Kingdom Brunel 11 – 2 7 – 2 18 - 4
Mark Sutton The Islands of Micronesia 7 – 2 7 – 6 14 - 8
Barry Ketchell The Life and Career of Johnny Ray 9 – 2 5 - 4 14 - 6
Jesse Honey The London Borough of Wandsworth 14 – 2 13 – 1 27 – 3

Current Highest Scoring Runners Up

John Cooper29 – 3
Ian Scott Massie26 – 2
Les Morrell26 - 3
Colin Wilson25 - 0
William de'Ath25 - 4
Frances Gregory & Richie Venner24 - 2

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