Monday, 13 December 2010

Brain of Britain

Brain of Britain - First Round - Heat 8

I checked out the programme information for today’s show before I tuned in, and I was delighted to see Mark Kerr on the list of contestants. That makes a great double for Mark today, since, as I’m sure you know he is one of the brilliant Alesmen, who are in tonight’s semi final of Only Connect. It’s a pure coincidence that two of Mark’s shows should be on the same day, but a nice one too.I did feel sorry for the poor devils who had to take him on in only the first round, though.

Still, Mark was drawn to go fourth today. First up was Lincoln Allison. He took the first two, but failed to identify that Gaborone is the capital of Botswana. Mark will be in here, I thought, and I was right. Joan Chantrell took her first, but Mark took her second, knowing that a cable is a tenth of a nautical mile. Third to enter the lists today was George Hastings. He too got off the mark but again Mark took his second, knowing a hadron when he heard it described. Mark didn’t actually know his first, that Tobias Smollet wrote peregrine Pickle, Roderick Random etc. Still, he led by virtue of his three bonuses. Lincoln again picked up his first two, but didn’t know that Violet Gibson tried to assassinate Mussolini. Mark did. Joan picked up her first. Still she couldn’t translate, from a £1 coin, Decus et Tutamen – or as my grannie used to say – deckus et Tutankhamen. Nobody knew it meant and ornament and a protector. George then took his first, but Mark took his second. Then Mark took his first two. Full marks for knowing the London plain tree there. Still, garrulus glandarus halted his advance, although none of the others knew it was a jay. Mark now led with 7 to Lincoln’s 4. Lincoln again started his round well knowing Edward the Caresser was Edward VII. He didn’t know a squaw winter, and to be fair nobody else did either. Joan was asked to identify the theme of Back to The Future, but failed. Nobody else managed it either. George got asked about my favourite author – Thackeray, but nobody knew it. Still, this brought Mark back to the plate, and took the first, but a nasty botany question stopped him, on compass plants. Mark went up to 8, still with a 3-point lead. Lincoln for the first time failed his first, and Mark was there to take it, knowing what a doubloon was. Joan failed her first, and Mark knew a description of a mandolin when he heard one. George didn’t know who DNPP in the Roman Catholic Church is. Mark guessed correctly it was the pope. Mark now had the chance to really ram home his advantage and took his first two. He didn’t know that To Kill A Mockingbird is set in Alabama. Joan did. Still, Mark’s score was building very nicely, thank you, and he led with 13 to Lincoln’s 5.

So at this stage we heard the listener’s questions. The first was : - Which Commonwealth country, previously known as Santiago, was captured in 1665 – and I missed the rest of the question. The answer, correctly given, was Jamaica. The second was : - the island of Jamaica is divided into three traditional counties. They offered Middlesex, Cornwall, and Somerset. It’s not Somerset, though, its Surrey.

On with Round 5. Lincoln didn’t know that Adonis, the favourite of Aphrodite, died being gored by a boar. That one went begging. Joan missed her first and no one knew who chaired the inquiry into Bloody Sunday. George juggled a little with PDF, but eventually got it. Then he couldn’t answer how many lions there are on the coat of arms of York. Joan knew it is 5. Mark didn’t know what architectural feature links Shakespeare’s Globe and other buildings. They were all octagonal. Lincoln was asked the old chestnut about the Swaythling Cup and the Courbillon cup , and surprisingly nobody had it. Joan took her first but not her second. George didn’t know that Brooksism means grinding of the teeth, but Mark knew it. He took two tricky questions of his own, and then had a music question. He knew it. He knew the 4th as well. The last of the 5 asked him for which 2 categories Linus Pauling won his 2 nobel prizes. Mark knew it was Peace and Chemistry, which took him to the grand total of 20 points.

Game pretty much over, it seemed to me, but there were still points to play for, and potentially a runner up semi final place. Lincoln couldn’t take his first. Joan couldn’t take hers. George didn’t know that the UK returns 72 MEPs to the European Parliament. Back to Mark. He didn’t know macedoine for his first , but it didn’t really matter. He had a 13-point lead, and it was time for the last round. Lincoln didn’t know his first. So his chance of a semi spot, slim anyway, had gone. Joan didn’t know where CAMRA has their headquarters. George didn’t know that the 7th Dragoon Guards and the Royal Highland Regiment are linked by the colour Black. So it remained for Mark to finish the contest. E.M. Forster on his third question finished him off. Nobody knew it was Edward Morgan.

So well done Mark! A very convincing performance, and one which marks him out as a good bet for the Grand Final. As for Lincoln, Joan and George, hard lines. One of the things about going on Brain of Britain is that you can easily find yourself up against someone as good as Mark, and all you can do is your best, and enjoy the experience. I hope that you all did.

The Details

Lincoln Allison - 8
Joan Chantrell - 6
George Hastings - 4
Mark Kerr – 23

Current Highest scoring runners-up

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

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