Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Brain of Britain - First Round Heat 12/12

Well, here we are in the middle of another week, and there’s a lot to catch up on , and its hard to know just where to start. BoB is as good a place as any. Monday brought us many good things, among them the last of the first round heats in the finest quiz on the radio. A cursory glance at the list of contestants revealed the name of Iwan Thomas. Regular readers, and regular Mastermind viewers probably recall Iwan’s stunning first round performance in the current series, where he whacked in a magnificent 37. Look out, I thought, the other three are going to have to go some here.

Well, they managed to hold their own for the first round. Phil Harvey didn’t get off the mark, and both Margaret Burke and Ian Fennell managed 2, the same number as Iwan, who had forgotten Howard Jacobsen, the writer of the 2010 Mann Booker winner, The Finkler Question. After that though it was pretty much a one horse race. Iwan’s total climbed round by round to 8, 10 then 14, and all before the Beat the Brains interval, by which time the closest challenger, Margaret Burke, was 9 points behind.

The listener’s questions were set by an American listener. The first was a gettable “America has an element – Americium – named after it. There are two other elements that are specifically named after places in the United States – which are they ? “ it took the brains all of about 2 seconds to polish off that one – California ( Californium ) and Berkely ( Berkelium) .The second was a bit of an old chestnut, asking which is the only element named after a place in the UK, with Strontium being the answer. No book token, but thanks for playing anyway.

Iwan continued where he’d left off by adding 5 points in each of the next two rounds to take his score to 24. Which seemed to satisfy him, as he didn’t take another before the end of the contest. There was still much to be decided though, since a score of 13 would gain a repechage slot. None of the other contestants could put together a realistic bid though, and in the end Ian Fennell took runner up slot with 9. So well done Iwan ! Even more impressive when you consider that the score was achieved without a full set of five either. Best of luck in the semis. We’ll have a look at the qualifiers for the semis in a later post.

The Details

Margaret Burke – 5
Ian Fennell – 9
Phil Harvey – 7
Iwan Thomas – 24

Highest scoring runners up

John Beynon – 18
Angela Wilson - 15
Ian Cassidy – 13
Elizabeth Manning – 12/ Mark Walton – 12


Ian F said...

Being the runner up on this show I was very impressed with Iwan Thomas' performance, he was clearly in a class beyond the rest of us. Lucky for me that I didn't connect him with that Mastermind performance until after the recording, or I would have been demoralised from round one I'm sure. Nice guy, and we had a somewhat surreal chat afterwards, comparing being in the Mastermind black chair with the Millionaire hot seat. The sort of conversation you don't have every day.

Iwan was also very fast on the button to get the bonuses. We were told beforehand not to buzz in before 'the cue', or we would be 'frozen out'. However I found it tricky to work out what 'the cue' was, it was a bit ambiguous. Maybe that made me a bit too cautious because four or five times I was poised with an answer, ready to grab a bonus point, only to see Iwan's light come on. It wouldn't have made a different to the outcome of course, but it was frustrating not knowing whether you were missing the points by seconds or milliseconds. I'll get in training for the next time. Apparently I can apply again in 2014.

It was an enjoyable evening. Three episodes were recorded, the other two being convincingly won by Graham Barker and Mark Kerr, so I was certainly among quiz titans. Looking forward to see who gets through the semis.

Londinius said...

Hello Ian, and welcome to LAM. I'm glad to see you talk about having another go. I think its a great show, myself, and I'm glad when I hear other people feel the same way.

You make a very good point about buzzer policy. We were given the same warning about buzzing too early on all three of my shows. However in the semi final I played it strictly by the book for a round and a half, and found the competitor to my right was beating me to the buzzer every time. So the next opportunity as soon as I saw Russell's lips starting to frame the word 'Incorrect ' or whatever, I went for it. He still beat me to it. He was obviously jumping the gun, so I started to do exactly the same. Neither of us got called for it or told off once. I was always told in my rugby playing days that you play to the referee - that's what I had to do.

Thanks for leaving a comment


Londinius said...

PS - Pesonally I found the Millionaire hotseat more daunting than the Mastermind black chair, but then bearing in mind my relative performance in both, I would say that !


Ian F said...

I do enjoy BoB. Quite a few people seem not to have heard of it, in spite of being a 'National Institution'. It's a pity it's not on in it's old 6.30pm weekday slot any more. I remember when I was at school it being a bit of a family ritual to listen to it while having our tea, calling out answers (it was usually my Dad)through a mouthful of Shepherd's pie. Strange to actually have been on the show decades later. In 1975 I would have expected to be living on a moonbase by now, and the BBC to be long in the past...

I'm getting less daunted by the idea of having a go at Mastermind, so maybe next year. I'll have to get into training. That basically means going on a diet. Having seen myself once on TV I'm not going on it again until I've lost a few stone!

Londinius said...

Hi Ian

Yes, the close ups on Mastermind can be really unkind. The close up still from my final round in the 2007 SOBM looks like I am playing in a new game show called Count The Chins.


Andrew B. said...

I've never thought BoB's policy of "don't buzz in before the cue" makes any sense, though it's not obvious what would be better. Maybe the next player of the four could be given first go at the bonus?