Only Connect – Children in Need Special – The Wheelmen v.The Larks
Yes, a sign of Only Connect’s ever growing popularity is this official seal of BBC approval, being asked to provide a Children in Need special. The teams contesting this first celebrity special were the Wheelmen and the Larks.
The Wheelmen were represented by the Reverend Richard Coles – once of the Communards, Grub Smith, and the ebullient Adam Hart- Davis. As a small coincidental fact, Adam is the cousin of John Julius Norwich, who was the host of the early 80s show Connections, which was a panel game, and also revolved around solving clues towards connections. The Larks were newspaper columnist Michael Bywater, Sleb Mastermind winner Stuart Maconie, and their skipper, none other than my old stand-in, Andrew Motion . (I’ve explained this before, but if you missed it, in 2008 I was asked to present the trophy to the winner of Mastermind, but my then Headteacher wouldn’t allow me the day off work to do it, and so they asked Andrew Motion instead ! True story . Not that I’m at all bitter, you understand. )
Round One – What’s the Connection ?
Wheelmen kicked off with Lion. Vocation crier looked inscrutable, but when it was followed by Carrot invoice it became clearer. The Wheelmen took the point for anagrams of each other, but missed the fact that they are all also anagrams of Victoria Coren ! Larks picked Horned viper – and revealed Differential calculus – binomial theorem – Babylonic cuneiform and in the last few seconds, Music from HMS Pinafore. I’ll admit that I was as stumped as they were until the last one came up. Rev Richard knew it was the patter song from the Modern Major General in the Pirates of Penzance. He went on to sing a pretty good go at it for good value as well ! For their own clue they took Eye of Horus, and found Hr – Sr – Sig. Again I thought that Richard did extremely well to get it at this point, knowing they are all abbreviations for the equivalent of Mister in different languages. Larks needed points now and picked flax. This earned the dreaded sound connection. A set of cowboys followed , which they got on the second clue with the theme from Midnight Cowboy. Battle well and truly joined. Wheelmen took reeds, and were given the pictures. I had it after cello and piano – bus and pram followed. At the death they knew it was things known by contractions of their full name – violincello – pianoforte etc. Larks ended the round with water . Baobab Tree – Tate Gallery Christmas Tree 1993 – Tarte Tatin gave the a set of things which are all upside down. So at the end of a close round the Wheelmen led by 7 to 5
Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?
Wheelmen began with water.Chief Norse God – Norse God of Thunder gave them what days of the week are named after, and so they knew that Woden’s Day and Thor’s Day would end 2 later with Saturn’s Day. Larks chose reeds and got 4Cb. My moment of the week – 4 Calling Birds I shouted ! They took 3 FH and 2TD , and finally got APIAPT at the death. Wheelmen chose Horus for sopt sign – 50p coin , at which they were on to it – and suggested that the last would be the Pentagon – anything with 5 sides being good for the answer. Larks took Flax for Behind – look, I’m really not boasting, but the first thing which occurred to me was the last 4 Carry On films. This was swiftly confirmed by the appearance of England, then Emmanuelle. Well done Larks for taking all the clues to eventually work it out and make sure of some points. Stuart had it. Wheelmen’s next pick was viper, which concealed pictures of a pointing finger, a board game and a toy theatre. They didn’t get it. Michael came up with an ingenious wrong answer, so the bonus went begging. It was point – game – set and the last would have been a match. Easy when you’re told, but not so easy before. . Finally the Larks ended with Lion. Huntingdon and Sedgefield gave them British PM’s constituencies, and when he weighed it up he plumped correctly for Witney. So they pulled back half of the lead, which now stood at 13 – 12 to the Wheelmen.
Round Three – The Connecting Walls
Many a team has come a cropper on the wall before, but not the first of these teams. Larks liked lion, and quickly sorted out all 4 sets.
Janus – Zaphod Beeblebrox – Rigged Coin and pushmi pully gave them things with two heads. Rattle, Wood , Davis and Solti gave them conductors. Cameron , Mumba, Bond and Fox are all Samanthas, and Stump – Floor – Baffle and Throw can all mean to confuse. Didn’t confuse the Larks in the slightest.
The Wheelmen with water needed a full house too. They found the Mitchells in Eastenders – Phil – Ronnie – Grant and Little Mo. Then a set of Blondes – Dumb – Suicide – Bottle and Legally. Then the brakes came on. In the end they didn’t untangle the last two sets. When they were revealed they could not see that coin – spiders web – cricket ball – good yarn can all be spun. Still, they did know that nit – curry – honey and cox are all combs. So the Larks now led with 22 to 18
Round Four – Missing Vowels
All to play for, and the Larks were so quick on the wall there seemed there might be a lot of time left. First set was things you could buy in a cake shop. 2 – 1to the wheelmen. Forms of entertainment fell to Larks 2 –1 , and Wheelmen had a miscue. Monastic Orders went to the Wheelmen 3 – 0, but that was it for a surprisingly short last round. Winners – well, not that it matters in a friendly competition, but the Larks won by 24 to 23.
Good show chaps. Yes, maybe some of them were a little easier than is the norm, but that’s all part of the fun. I gave something to Children in Need after the show . I hope a lot of the viewers can do the same.
Oh, and in case you forget, next week its my team, the Radio Addicts v. The Britpoppers.