Saturday, 20 November 2010

Mastermind - Children In Need Special

Yes, I’ve figured out why The Birmingham Mega Quiz was staged on Children in Need night this year. It meant that we didn’t miss an edition of regular season Mastermind ! Last year , IIRC, we had the celebrity special and a normal edition on the same night. Not so this time. Heat 14 will have to wait, but at least we were offered a second comedians special. You may recall that last year Lucy Porter set a Celebrity record with 35 in the Children in Need special, so this year’s crop did have something to live up to.

Fred Macaulay’s subject met with approval from the Clark sofa. In fact my uncle, who is no mean quizzer himself, has come close to applying to Mastermind on a Fawlty Towers ticket himself. The only question which would have caused any difficulty to the fans at all was “In which episode had the letters on the sign been rearranged to “Watery Fowls “ ? “ It was The Psychiatrist apparently. Believe me – they couldn’t possibly have asked about what the sign said in The Anniversary ! I excelled myself by getting all 16 of the other questions, a little better than Fred managed. Still, 14 is not to be sniffed at.

Tony Hawks is not the skateboarder, but a very amusing writer and broadcaster. His first ‘book about a bet ‘ was “Round Ireland With A Fridge” which did exactly what it said on the tin. Hence his subject, fridges. Had there been any questions about the best routes for hitchhiking with a fridge in the Emerald Isle he might have done a little better. As it was he managed 4.

Andi Osho certainly had no intention of messing around in her specialist round on the Matrix Trilogy. 19 questions – 19 correct answers. I don’t care if these questions were easier than the norm, that’s still a mightily impressive feat. Alright, you wouldn’t have expected this to be the most serious contest anyway, but it really looked as if the game was already won.

Stuart francis, probably best known for guest spots on Mock The Week, not the grape crushing former Crakcerjack presenter, was answering on The Toronto Maple Leafs. They play Ice Hockey he explained helpfully. Just as John wanted to start the round he asked what the highest ever score was, and suggested to John that they make history together. Well, considering that the lowest specialist score is 1, and the highest ever 23, that meant a target of either 0 or 24, both of them unlikely. He ended with 14.

Bereft of any realistic chance of winning the show, Tony meandered pleasantly and amusingly through his general round, bagging 10 more points into the process. Which left him still 5 points behind Andi. Fred earned himself a telling off from John for a little bit of messing around in his GK round. These GK rounds were definitely easier than the norm, but the fact was that Fred knew a lot of his stuff. As it was he scored 15, and with a little more mind on the job he might have set a very challenging target. As it was he finished with 29. Still, messing around was rather the order of the day in this show, and well that it was. Otherwise we might have missed the answer of the night, supplied by Stuart. Asked which bathroom appliance took its name from a French word for pony, because one is supposed to sit astride it, he answered “Rula Lenska. “ It made me laugh. It tickled John too, which finished Stuart off considering that it took him two or three questions’ time to regain his composure. Stuart finished with 23.

Finally Andi. Her composure was laudable. She didn’t have the best general knowledge of all the contenders, but she kept her head, cracked a joke or two as she went along, and picked off the answers she knew. She knew 11 of them , which was enough to give her 30, and the win. Well played, and good show.

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