Alright, lets be thankful for small mercies. At least the show was only taken off for a week this time. Lets look at round one. John Iball began with a round which was firmly in the traditional subjects camp, on Charles Darwin. Well, if you’re going to pick an archetypal Great British Scientist, they don’t come a lot bigger than him. John made an interesting point in his filmed insert. I’d always thought that Darwin’s extreme reluctance to publish was due to his religious convictions. Apparently it had more to do with his fear of losing his social standing and his livelihood. This was a good round, where the contender had obviously done his homework, and 14 certainly put him into contention.
Elspeth Wilkes’ round saw the return of an old Mastermind favourite , the obscure Composer round. Alright, Poulenc isn’t necessarily that obscure to anyone who actually knows anything about music.Unfortunately I don’t. Poulenc is one of those names whereby on hearing it, I immediately think – Poulenc – yes – composer – check – and that’s it. Still, Elspeth Wilkes certainly knew her stuff, and she answered crisply and succinctly. Despite a mid-round wobble that saw her pick up a few passes she righted herself, and ended with 12.
In Gavin Doig’s filmed insert I was intrigued to hear him say that the focus of his round on “The History of Mountaineering on Mount Everest “ would be on the human stories, and I couldn’t help wondering whether this was just his focus, and whether the same focus would have been shared by the question setters. 11 was a good score – anything on double figures is a good score, but I can’t help wondering if he was given a good few questions outside the terms of reference he had set for himself. Out of interest, I do wonder f Mr. Doig is possibly related to the legendary Clive Doig.
The Prize for the most unusual /original subject of the night for me went to David Gordon who offered us “The Break Up of Yugoslavia”. This was a historical/political subject over a relatively short time frame, and so I thought that he could expect the setters to have done a lot of digging to prepare a set of questions, and to be fair for the most part Mr. Gordon was equal to the task of answering them. I was intrigued to find that Macedonia had altered its flag. The flag they have now is a magnificent orange and red creation, of what seems to be rays coming from a sun in the middle . For reasons I can’t explain it always reminds me of the headbands supposedly worn by Japanese kamikaze pilots in world war II.
All of which rambling brings me to the end of the SS rounds. Our contenders , all new to Mastermind, had acquitted themselves well, and only 3 points separated 1st and 4th. So whoever kept their nerve best, and performed best in GK looked like having a very good chance to at least get onto the runners up board.
Gavin Doig returned, and he struggled manfully with what I thought was a very decent round. In the end he answered 8 correctly to give him a total of 19, which looked unlikely to bring a win. Elspeth Wilkes followed. The smoothness and crispness of her answering in the first round returned, and it looked like she might possibly set a difficult target. However , and this is just my opinion – as always , feel free to disagree – I thought that her set of questions were somewhat tougher than those in the other three GK rounds. She too scored 8, to give her a slender lead, with 20.
Was this going to be one of those evenings where all four contenders posted relatively modest GK rounds ? I’d thought that David Gordon looked nervous in his SS round, leaning forward in the chair, but he’d certainly answered confidently enough. I’m afraid that he wasn’t able to produce the same level of performance in GK, and he scored 5, to give him 18. So with only John Iball to go, it looked just possible that Elspeth Wilkes could be our next lady semi finalist. I think we are due at least one or two more if statistics of recent series are anything to go by. John Iball never looked at all convincing in his round, taking his time in places, and picking up four more passes. However in the end the two points more than Elspeth which he’d scored in the SS round were enough, and he scored seven to just nudge across the line with 21 points.
This was a good show. The contenders were all evenly matched – they finished with only 3 points separating 1st and 4th, as it had been in the GK round. Congratulations to John Iball on reaching the semis.
|John Iball||Charles Darwin||14 – 2||7 – 4||21 - 6|
|Elspeth Wilkes||The Life and work of Francis Poulenc||12 – 4||8 – 4||20 - 8|
|Gavin Doig||The History of Mountaineering on Everest||11 – 1||8 – 3||19 - 4|
|David Gordon||The Break Up of Yugoslavia||13 – 0||5 – 2||18 – 2|
Current Highest Scoring Runners Up
|John Cooper||29 – 3|
|Ian Scott Massie||26 – 2|
|Les Morrell||26 - 3|
|Colin Wilson||25 - 0|
|Peter Cowans||25 - 2|
|William de'Ath||25 - 4|