Back to London again this week, for 3 competitors from London, Middlesex and Surrey, and one from Cardiff. Oh yes, I was torn. In the end I had to throw the dubious benefit of my support behind Michael Parsons from Cardiff. His wasn’t a name the rings a bell, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything as we well know.
Michael was drawn to go fourth as it happened, and so the show kicked off with Graham Bennett from Surbiton – Good Life country. Graham kicked off confidently with 2 correct answers. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Prize did for him, and gave my boy Michael a first point in the shape of a bonus. Charmian Griffiths from London missed her first question, a tricky one on good old Harold Bluetooth. I did know this, but only because I studied Old Norse as part of my English degree (don’t ask, just accept it). Nobody else did. Glen Kirton from Middlesex took the first question, but missed out on the city which is the HQ of the African Union. Its Addis Ababa, and nobody knew it. Michael then faced his own first question, but failed on a type of US folk dance. Not surprised at that. So Graham led into round two.
Graham couldn’t supply the title to the musical sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Charmian knew Love Never Dies. She added to this with two of her own questions, in what was to prove her best round of the whole contest. She didn’t know that .lk on the internet refers to Sri Lanka. Michael did, though. Glen took another of his own questions, and then Michael took another bonus by giving HM the Queen’s two middle names – Alexandra Mary. He added two of his own, before giving Glen back a bonus when he couldn’t identify a term referring to the surgical procedure for removing a kidney stone. Michael now led with 4, to Glen and Charmian’s 3, and Graham’s 2.
Poor Graham was going to struggle for points for the rest of the contest. His first question on The Old Curiosity Shop proved unanswerable to all 4 of the contestants. Charmian couldn’t dredge up the name of the faun in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, but Michael knew it. Both Glen and Michael failed on their own first questions, and indeed, falling at the first hurdle was to be something of a recurring motif in this show. Still, Michael and Glen were doing what you really have to do, continuing to rack up bonuses each round. Michael led by 5 to Glen’s 4. Round Four would, in hindsight, finish the match as a contest. Charmian picked up one point for her first answer, Glen , Graham and Michael each picked up a bonus. However Michael put together a string of five correct answers, and by the end of the round , which preceded the listener’s questions, he led by 11 to Glen’s 5, Charmian’ 4, and Graham’s 3.
Two questions on the NASA Apollo missions followed. Given a list of names, the team failed to see they were all call signs of Apollo lunar modules that landed on the moon, and so the first would have been Eagle. Even more difficult, they were asked to name the bird from which the feather used by Dave Scott to conduct the old Galileo experiment on the moon had come. It was a falcon, that being the name of the LEM on his mission.
None of the contestants managed to answer any of their own questions in round five, and only Glen and Michael picked up single bonuses. Round 6 was only slightly better, when both Charmian and Michael managed one of their own questions. Michael though kept the bonuses coming. Not only that, but he also had a nine point lead at this stage, with 15 to Glen’s 6. Again, in round 7 and also the last round nobody could answer any of their own questions, with Michael and Glen picking up a bonus apiece in both of them. That was it, then. To be honest, even if Michael had scored nothing on round 4, rather than getting 5 and bonus, he would still have won clearly. He was better on the buzzer, and to be honest I think that his knowledge seemed wider than the other contestants. Well done Michael, and good luck in the semis, carrying the hopes of Wales with you.
Graham Bennett – 3
Charmian Griffiths – 5
Glen Kirton – 8
Michael Parsons – 17