Monday, 27 December 2010

Brain of Britain - Heat 10

Brain of Britain – Heat 10

I must apologise if my BoB reviews this year have seemed rather like a long winded name dropping exercise. The fact is that once you’ve taken part in a few broadcast quizzes, and played in the odd grand prix and big event here and there you do start to get to meet the people who go in for the same sort of things that you do. Add this to the fact that many people who have been reviewed on this very blog have been kind enough to get in touch, and it goes some way to explaining why this is yet another heat of this year’s BoB where I do know one of the contenders.

First to go today was Dr. Graham Barker. If the name sounds familiar to you, well indeed it should. Graham is one third of the Alesmen, semi finalists in the series of Only Connect which reaches its climax tonight. Graham’s participation raised the prospect of a semi final meeting with his OC captain Mark Kerr, whom we heard sprinting away from the opposition in his own heat a couple of weeks ago to win by the proverbial country mile. Would Graham repeat this feat today ? Well, indications from the first round were that he would. He missed his own second question, but with two bonuses in the round he had a 2 point lead over fellow competitors Michael Rapaport, David Skiffington Smith, and Carol Slater. I was a little surprised to see Stendahl’s “The Charterhouse of Parma” pass by all the competitors. Still, in round 2 Graham built on the lead he had established, with another 2 bonuses, but this time two of his own questions at well. Thus he led with 7 against Carol’s 4.

From then on this show became the polar opposite of last week’s show, where you may recall that it was a life or death struggle for points throughout the whole contest, and the result was in doubt up to the last question. Not so today. Given a set of five which proved to be well within his capabilities Graham took a full 5 and bonus on the next round, and for good measure helped himself to a bonus as well. Already he had 14, which to be fair was quite a bit more than the other contestants would manage by the end of the show. In the next round Graham did show a little vulnerability by confusing the Royal Oak with the Ark Royal. Both were sunk in World War II, but the Ark Royal was the aircraft carrier. Not taht anyone could use this failure on the first question to narrow the gap, as nobody scored more than a point in the round, and Graham himself picked up another bonus.

The Beat the Brains questions were these – In Peter and the Wolf – which instrument is used for the cat ? It sounded like Carol who supplied the answer Clarinet. However the team did fail to answer which instrument symbolises a swan in a piece by Sibelius. It was a cor anglais. Back to the contest. Graham rammed home his superiority by taking a very good set of 5, which I thought was harder than his first, but then that’s just me. For the other contestants it was all about beating 11, which would put them into repechage slots. Points, though, were just coming too slowly for them. After a bright start Carol Slater faded and didn’t add to her 5. Neither Michael nor David could average more than one point a round either. So it just remained to see the remaining rounds out. Graham once more missed a first question on the EFDS – the English Folk Dance Society, but in the last round I was delighted to hear him pick up a bonus on Timothy Farthing. You may recall that this was the name of the vicar played by Frank Williams in Dad’s Army. Graham certainly recalled it.

So that was it. Graham finished with 30 , comfortably the highest score of the series.Many congratulations, a fantastic performance ! Its certainly possible that he might meet Mark in the semis, although it would be a cruel twist of fate if it happened. Still, if you’re looking for irony I fancy that the three highest scorers from the heats of last year’s BoB were all put into the same semi, and if you’re looking for even more irony, one of them was Chris Quinn, the other third of the Alesmen. Ee, it’s a small world, in’t it ?

The Details

Dr. Graham Barker - 30
Michael Rapaport - 9
David Skiffington Smith - 8
Carol Slater - 5

Current Highest scoring runners-up

John Beynon – 18
Angela Wilson - 15
Ian Cassidy - 13
Anne Finch – 11/ Richard Hedges – 11

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