Friday, 8 October 2010

Mastermind First Round - Heat 8/24

Sacrilege this may be, but my wife Mary is not a fan of Mastermind. However, she is away at the moment, staying with her mum in Spain while her stepfather is in hospital. You don’t need to know that, but at least it meant that I could watch Mastermind in the comfort of my front room for once. I was eagerly awaiting tonight’s show since I knew that we’d be seeing LAM reader Brian Pendreigh tonight . Brian however was drawn to go fourth in the first round, so lets look at the competition first.

Vicky Versaci answered questions on The Hannibal Lecter Novels of Thomas Harris. Tonight was one of those nights when I achieved my aim of answering at least one question in each of the specialist rounds. Mind you, this was only because I’ve seen “The Silence of the Lambs “ a couple of times – I’ve never read any of the books. Vicky did rather better than this. On 4 points she hit a mini pass spiral which rather took the wind out of her sails, and although she pulled herself out of it she didn’t really get a huge amount of momentum going. Never mind, she reached respectability with double figures.

The History of Alcatraz was the interesting subject offered by second contender Paul Philpot. This looked on the surface to be the kind of unusual subject where you’d expect the contender to be extremely well prepared, and to be fair Paul didn’t disappoint on this score. He was going great guns – very fast answers without a hint of a wrong ‘un anywhere, until just the one answer tripped him up in the second half of the round. Not to worry, he mentally picked himself up, dusted himself off, and completed the round at top speed. 17 is a great score – well done.

I’ll admit it, I have a soft spot for British comedy films from the 50s through the 70s, so I was looking forward to Carole Symonds’ round on The Carry On Films. We last saw this as a subject when Sally Lindsay won her Celebrity Mastermind show a year or two ago. Carole obviously knew her stuff, but I’m afraid that nerves were rather her undoing. For example, when she was asked the name of Hengist Pod’s wife in the very finest of the films, Carry On Cleo, she knew the character was played by Sheila Hancock, but couldn’t remember the character’s name – inevitably Senna. She did remember enough to gain 8 points – not a huge total, but not one to be ashamed of either.

At last Brian. Now, being realistic, Brian was going to be good on General Knowledge, so there would be no need to panic if he couldn’t match Paul’s score. His subject was the Beatles – ah, another great subject. Although having said that , there has been so much written and said about them, that the amount of work it must take covering all the angles and any potential questions is mind bogging. Brian didn’t quite manage a perfect round, but it was extremely good. 15 and no passes put him handily placed at Paul’s shoulder, as we progressed to the General rounds.

Carole was already out of the running, to be fair. I thought that her general questions were very fair, but I’m afraid that she made rather heavy going of it. She added another 7 to her score to make a total of 15. Vicky had a two point advantage over Carole at the halfway stage, but she needed all of this, as nerves and a pass spiral ate into her time in a big way. She knew a lot more than she answered, as she ruefully showed when John gave her the answers to her passes. She took her total to 16.

Brain returned to the chair, and what followed was a performance straight out of the top drawer. The highest scores in a 2 and a half minute GK round we have seen before were the 19 scored by Jesse Honey, and the 20 scored by Pat Gibson in the Champions final. The highest score in a GK round of this series so far had been LAM reader Paul Steeples’ 17. Brian equalled Pat’s record with 20. It was a fabulous round, answers snapped out with no hesitation, no time wasted on the ones he didn’t know which produced the 2 passes. Some great answers, but just as impressive was not dropping a point on any bread and butter either. Brian , that was magnificent !

Not that the show was officially over yet, but in all honesty the chances of having two contenders who could perform like that on the same show seemed slim. Paul returned to the chair, and he certainly started brightly enough. However I’m afraid that the enormity of the task ahead of him seemed to adversely affect his performance. He was becalmed on 21 for what seemed like a very long time. The win slipped away very quickly, and it became less and less likely he’d manage to get enough to get on the semi final board. That’s a shame, but at least he takes away the memory of a very fine Specialist performance.

As for Brian, you have to say that Scotland has found in him a contender who shows every sign of giving them a very good run for their money this year. Many, many congratulations !

The Details

Vicky Versaci The Hannibal Lecter Novels of Thomas Harris10 - 66 – 7 16 – 13
Paul PhilpotThe History of Alcatraz17 - 07 - 524 – 5
Carole SymondsThe Carry On Films8- 07 - 415 – 4
Brian PendreighThe Beatles15 - 020 - 235 – 2

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 - 2
Ian Packham - 27 – 7
Chris Harrison - 26 - 1
Laura Humphreys 25 – 4
Simon Martin 25 – 6


paulphi said...

Thanks for the fair report David. I've been doing GPs for around 2 years and still playing catch up with 'bread and butter style answers'.It is a big step up from local pub quizzing and I have been relying heavily on pop culture and sport in the past to get by. A score of 35 to beat definitely affected my focus (the Rommel and Charles Adams answers spring to mind), but I know Brian is an excellent quizzer and wish him all the best.I agree he is a dark horse for the final.
I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will be back(hopefully)!

Ewan M said...

Fantastic performance by Brian, one of the most impressive GK rounds I've seen on this or any other series of MM. The competition in this heat, with all due respect to the other contestants, wasn't the fiercest, but Brian could be a real contender if he maintains this form. With Edinburgh Uni looking as impressive as anyone (bar Magdalen) in UC it's great to see representatives from my home town doing so well in tv's best quiz shows (apologies - I know it's highly rated amongst the cognoscenti - but try as I might I just can't get into Only Connect).

Londinius said...

Hi paulphi,

I'm sorry, Paul, I didn't realise it was you or I would have credited you as 'LAM reader Paul Philpot. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the experience - as you know the show is very close to my heart. 2 years is actually quite a short time to be really getting to grips with things - believe me, it will come ! Thanks for dropping by

Hi Eugene,

Aye laddie, the land of my ancestors is certainly punching its weight in TV quizland. Don't apologise for having favourites among shows - we all have our likes and dislikes, although as you know I do love all three ahosw.

Look after yourselves,