Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sleb Mastermind - Show 7

Celebrity Mastermind – Show 7 – Tuesday 5th January 2010

Show seven provided us with a typically wide cross-section of specialist subjects. First up was Tony Parsons, whose fee was being donated to Scope. Cards on the table, I like Tony Parsons’ novels a lot, so perhaps I didn’t do too much for his chances by supporting him from the infamous Clark sofa.Tony was answering questions on British Punk, which is hardly surprising since I believe that he cut his teeth as a young music journalist writing about the punk scene. I did know one of his passes myself, that it was the Boomtown rats who took their name from a phrase in Woody Guthrie’s autobiography. Still, a score of double figures is always pretty respectable. 11 points set the mark for the rest.

Russell Grant, supporting the Alzheimer’s Society, answered on the County of Middlesex. This was of particular interest to Yours Truly, since I was born in 1964, the year before Greater London came into being, and I was born in an area which was still a part of Middlesex until that time. My folks always insisted on writing Middlesex as part of their address, long after it had officially ceased to exist. However, since this is LAM and not All Our Yesterdays, I shall curtail this digression now. I loved the question Russell was asked about the Bruce Castle Museum. This is literally within walking distance of my Mum’s home in Tottenham ! Enough of the personal details. Suffice it to say that this was an extremely wide ranging round, and I thought that Russell Grant did well to score 13.

The actress Diane Parish, probably best known for being one of Lovejoy’s last sidekicks, and then for her current role in Eastenders, was representing the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust. She offered us the TV series Frasier. She snapped up all the straightforward questions, but floundered somewhat on a set of questions which asked for what looked like a very detailed knowledge of the minutiae of specific episodes. I thought that this was a bit mean, especially when you consider that were no less than 264 episodes made ! The pass spiral has been pretty rare during this series, but unfortunately Diane fell into one, and scored 5.

Paul Gambaccini , who donated his fee to Stonewall, answered questions on DC comics. This was the pick of the rounds. I would venture to say that between 8 and 10 of these questions were relatively straightforward, since I’m not a DC comics fanatic myself, but managed to get 9 of them. However Mr. Gambaccini did considerably better, and scored a near perfect 16, only one answer getting way from him in the whole round.

Diane Parish explained how the fact that Eastenders is recorded anything up to 10 weeks in advance means that they sometimes use the artifice of sticking blossom to the trees. Unfortunately Diane fell into another pass spiral, in a set of GK questions that just didn’t seem to suit. She finished with 11. Tony Parsons apologetically explained to John Humphrys that his own books sold much better than John Humphrys’ because success always goes to the idiots who don’t deserve it. He’s being self deprecating. He mentioned his book “Man and Boy” and I can thoroughly recommend it. Fair play, he gave it a lash, and scored 10, although he’ll be kicking himself for not realising that Poly Vinyl Chloride is known by the abbreviation PVC.

Russell Grant boasted of his Welsh ancestry before his GK round, but whether this was an attempt to curry favour with Sion Bach, is not for me to say. This was a rather entertaining GK round, with Russell Grant identifying Ally McCoist as “Alex something or other “, and Ian Paisley as “Oh – T – T – T – Trimble. “ He didn’t quite manage double figures, but his nine was enough to give him the lead, with only Paul Gambaccini to go. John had hardly let Paul sit down before he said, “Paul, we have to talk about X Factor. “ Really ? Just because the man doesn’t like it ? I don’t like brussels sprouts, John, but you never forced me to talk about them when I was in the chair. Still, on the subject of the X Factor, Paul suggested that a Bob Dylan would never have taken part in the X Factor. Well, true, but then a Bob Dylan would never have won the X Factor either. Still, lets not go there for now. Paul’s score of 12 was unimpressive by the standards of this series, but it brought him a praiseworthy 28, and a comfortable win of 6 points.

As he picked up his trophy Paul Gambaccini paid tribute to the show, which he said he had always watched since he used to watch as a student back in the days of Magnus Magnusson. Without wishing to be harsh, it must have been in the very earliest days of Mastermind if he was still a student, since his radio 1 career began in 1973, I believe. Still, I’m all for paying tribute to the history and tradition of the show, so full marks for that. Well done, sir.

The Details

Tony ParsonsBritish Punk 11 - 410 - 321 - 7
Russell Grant The County of Middlesex 13 - 39 - 122 - 4
Diane ParishFrasier5 – 9 6 - 511 – 14
Paul Gambaccini DC Comics16 - 012 - 0 28 – 0

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