I must confess that reading this week's Weaver's Week reminds me that I have never managed to catch an episode of the Burnsless , slimmed down Krypton Factor before this week’s final, and I only watched that today through the magic of the ITV player. I felt that it was well overdue that I cast an eye over the series to see how it shapes up.
The final was contested between four gentlemen, two who had won their semi finals, and two who had come runner up in their semi final. They were : -
Ed Brims is a former University Challenge contestant and Mastermind semi finalist , from 2005 if I recall correctly, so he at least should have been in contention for the General Knowledge round. James O’Driscoll was a member of the Mathematicians, who placed 4th in series 2 of Only Connect. The others may well have their own previous form, but I’m afraid I’m not aware of it.
The first round – Flightboard - was one of those horrible mental agility things. Each contender was shown a series of airport departure boards, which disappeared to be replaced by another before they were given the accompanying question. Actually this looked every bit as tough as the challenges which met contestants in the first round in the good old days of Gordon Burns, and it certainly passed the –do I bother to play along at home ? – litmus test. Our host, the rather anodyne Ben Shepherd spent a bit of time chatting with the contestants after their round, which is actually not an easy thing to do considering that you have to gallop through the four rounds in about 20 minutes of actual air time, once you’ve taken the adverts out of the equation.
Second round was Observation – based on Geraldine McEwan’s Miss Marple in the 4:15 from Paddington. I’m afraid I’m rotten at this sort of game, even when I can stop the ITV player and make an effort to remember what’s just happened, and what’s been said. To be honest this round was pretty much about remembering what they said to each other – they were stuck in a railway carriage so there wasn’t a great deal visual happening.
The Assault course was the third round. I was interested to note that there was no advantage of a head start given to the older contender, as used to happen in the good old days of Gordon Burns. Maybe this is fairer in the long run, but it certainly counted against Malcolm Mackinnon, who was giving away a lot of years to all three of the other contenders. I wonder how it must affect your nerves going into the final, knowing that you already have top points for the Assault course in the bag ? Certainly Ed Brims looked like the cat that swallowed the cream as we moved into the last round, the quickfire General Knowledge round. He should have done too, he was only 1 point away from making the Mastermind final in 2005.
The quickfire round was shortened during Gordon Burns’ tenure to stop any contender from coming last in all the other rounds, but winning with a stunning show on General Knowledge. I’m glad to say that this disgraceful state of affairs has been ended. There were plenty of questions asked . I’m afraid that Ed Brims fell away a bit during this round. I don’t think it was due to any lack of knowledge, only that, for the most part, the other guys were so fast on the buzzer. If you needed to hear the whole question before you buzzed, then you just weren’t going to get a chance to answer. Pete Thompson just edged in front by the closing question. James O’Driscoll, one point behind, buzzed in , but there was no time left for an answer.
Congratulations to Pete Thompson.
As for the Krypton Factor, well, actually, not that bad at all. I’ll be honest, it was so short that by the time I’d started to get into it, it was gone. Cut out the chat, shorten coverage of the Assault course, and there’d be time to fit in one of those 3-D jigsaw puzzles . Just a suggestion, chaps.