Friday, 28 May 2010

Mastermind News

Would you like to be the next Mastermind champion ? If your answer is yes – well , sorry , but you’re out of luck, since they’ve already been recording the first round of the next series. So unless you’re already in it, you’re too late. Now, it doesn’t matter where I was or what I was doing. I’ll tell you all about it in the future. However I have it from cast iron sources that there’s a fundamental change to the format of the show. Basically the filmed inserts have all gone. Ok, we can all live with that, I’m sure. Albeit that they were an improvement on the inter round chats from previous Humphrys era series. This frees up the time to increase the GK rounds to 2 and a half minutes. This is not a rumour, or a mooted change – its already happened.

You know me. I’m essentially a pupil of the school of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ , so my feelings about this change are mixed at best. Its interesting to think that Bill Wright, the show’s creator, originally envisaged it as consisting only of specialist questions. Happily the classic format of contenders being given equal time on both specialist and general knowledge was established during the very first series in 1972, and this basic principle was adhered to right up to the semi finals of the series that finished earlier tonight.

On the other hand . . . well the principle was abandoned in this year’s semis, where the specialist round alone was reduced to 90 seconds, and yet we still saw some exciting shows. If anything they moved along at an even more cracking pace, having no filmed inserts to hold up the specialist rounds. So I think that we have to give it a try, and reserve judgement until we see it in practice.


Andrew B. said...

Yes - was at the filming on Tuesday and the general knowledge rounds did indeed last for two-and-a-half minutes.

Rach Cherryade said...

Hi Dave, yes I forgot to mention in my e-mail that we had an extra30 seconds for general knowledge, I didn't really notice it to be honest because of how tense the whole thing is but it remains to be seen what difference it will make, I know the chats used to slow things down a bit but I really liked the filmed inserts from this series, they gave extra info about the subjects without breaking up the quiz so I'm a bit sad to see them go but on the other hand people tune in for questions so 2 minutes more of questions per match may well be a hit with the audience!

Anyway, now UC and Mastermind are both off air it's going to be a bit of a barren time for quizzes, though I imagine the new series of UC should be starting soon.

All the best,

Londinius said...

Hi Andrew and Rachael,

As I said, all we can do is reserve judgement, and give the new format a chance to prove itself before we make up our minds about it. On a personal note the more questions asked, the better, in my opinion. However I do have a couple of concerns. For instance, if you prepare properly for your specialist round you'll have put in weeks of work , and it seems a bit of a shame to have the reward for your hard work downgraded in this way.

Also there are contenders who have GK rounds that leave them looking like nervous wrecks by the end of them. Is it really fair to put them through an additional 30 seconds of agony ? Well, these are things which we'll have to watch the shows to really be able to answer with conviction.

Yes, Rach, I'm not sure exactly when UC begins again this year, but last year it started in the first week of July. Hopefully this will be the same this year, although I believe that they have shifted the filming schedule so that all the series is filmed in the same academic year now. Whether this will have any effect on the broadcast schedule I really couldn't say.

Still, closing date for applications for OC4 is within the next couple of weeks, so that will be in the pipeline too. so don't despair too much.

Look after yourselves, and keep in touch.

Anonymous said...

Presumably they're using the new orchestration of the theme tune which debuted last night as well. Not really worth doing a new recording just for one show. (To be honest, not really worth doing at all, but they've spent the money now.)

Londinius said...

Hi Jenny

Yes, I noticed the new version of the theme last night. Remiss of me not to mention it really. Again, I'm not sure about how I feel about this , so will reserve judgement until I get used to it.

LisaH said...

I had advance notice of the new theme as it is recorded by the BBC Philharmonic and one of my friends took part. (His wife came with me to my recording and looked after my son for me; they were speculating whether the new music would be used for 'my' series.)

Londinius said...

Hi Lisa

That's interesting, it must have been done a while ago, then ?

Anonymous said...

I was talking yesterday at the Oxford-Cambridge Quiz Varsity Match to two of the Oxford contingent (one current, one former, the latter a recidivist) who have been accepted for the next series of Mastermind. Neither has yet filmed their first round, and indeed one only found out he was on the show about a week ago; their filming schedule is for next month, I think. That suggests that the Beeb had actually filmed part of the first round before they had completed selecting the contestants, which seems a bit... well, off, really. What's more, neither of them had been told about this change to the format at all.

Londinius said...

Hi Rob

Hmmm. I have a friend who filmed her heat on Tuesday 25th, so it certainly seems true.
Only a month's notice ? That's really tough. The least time I ever had to prepare a specialist subject was just between the semi and the final in 2007, when I had 34 days. However it was the same for everyone in that show.

As it happened I used three weeks to learn the specialist subject for that show, and the rest of the time to work on my weakest areas of GK, but even so its a tall order to do it in a month, and you have to become really obsessional about it. All this when all your hard work for the specialist round is devalued anyway, since you have longer on GK. Well, as I said, I won't make snap judgements until I see how it works on the telly.