Saturday, 5 February 2011

Mastermind - First Round heat 21

We’re winding towards the end of this highly enjoyable series of first round matches now – only another three to go after last night’s show. I have to say that my attention was really drawn by the fact that sitting in contenders’ row was none other than my Brain of Britain conqueror, the mighty Dr. Ian Bayley. A little more about Ian in a moment.

Before Ian though Karen Davies took to the chair. Her subject was The Avengers and The New Avengers. I turned to my daughter Jessie and said – I bet they ask something about the original title of the show being Police Surgeon. They didn’t. Gypsy Rose Clark strikes again. I quite fancied my chances on this subject, and I wasn’t unhappy to get 5 of them, even if the ones I got were of the gimme – what was the name of Honor Blackman’s character ? – variety. Karen did better than this, and her 9 didn’t look that bad at all considering the in-depth knowledge of particular episodes that was required.

Right, to Ian. Ian as I’m sure you remember was runner-up to Nancy in 2008/2009. ( filmed in 2008 – final was broadcast in 2009. You know how it works. ) Just out of interest that means that he has only had to sit out one series before having another go. If we look for precedents , well, Geoff Thomas was runner up to Andy Page in 2003, and came back to win the series in 2006. Then Mark Grant was runner up to Pat in 2005, and then was on the podium in Jesse’s final last year. Well, if its good enough for Jon and the team its certainly good enough for me. After all, I played in 2006, and then won in 2007 – albeit that I did get knocked out in the first round of 2006. I said last year after Ian demolished us in the BoB final that he will surely soon join the ranks of those who have done the Mastermind / BoB double. Maybe this will be the year. Having said that though he looked a little nervous with his round on the Romanov Dynasty. 11 was a good score, but not amongst the highest we’ve seen this year.

Now, Andrew Smithies was offering a subject which I have actually considered myself as a potential subject. The History of the London Underground was something I did give a moment or two’s thought to as a subject for the Champion of Champions series last year. In the end I decided against it since the amount of work would have been, I believe , considerably greater than The Bayeux Tapestry which I plumped for in the end. Still, I was pleased that with no revision – alright, sitting in the comfort of the Clark sofa rather than the ‘notorious black chair’ as John called it – I still managed to get 7 of Andrew’s questions. Andrew managed 9 .

Finally Duncan Mitchell. Duncan was offering us Scottish Malt Whiskey, although only as a specialist subject. Not a drinker myself, and I know very little about the subject. This worried me, since I was on for a good total for the combined specialists tonight. I had 5 on both the Avengers and the Romanovs, and another 7 on the Underground. Now it looked likely I wouldn’t get any. Thankfully though I knew the 16 men of Tame were Glenmorangie, and that George Orwell wrote “1984” on Jura, and that gave me two points. Back in the real world Duncan managed a good 11, although he did pick up 2 passes as the round progressed.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think that anyone there would be able to beat Ian on General Knowledge. His speed and range of knowledge in BoB last year was breathtaking to behold. It had been a relatively low scoring show again so far tonight, and to be honest the chances of the runner up getting enough points to join the repechage board looked very slim. Still, a target needed to be set, and I’m pleased to say that Karen Davies gave it a good old lash. I thought that her round of 13 was a pretty good one. She built up a head of steam quite early, although like many she did run out of momentum as we approached the last half minute. 13 is a perfectly respectable return for a 2 and a half minute round, and set the target at 22. Lets not forget, this would have won last week’s show.

Andrew Smithies followed. He was a little hesitant, and picked up quite a run of passes, which was a shame because he also had some good answers. As did all tonight’s contenders, he made the distinction of getting into double figures in the general knowledge round, finishing with 10 for a total of 19.

Now Ian. For some reason, in 2009 Ian only had very good general knowledge rounds, rather than outstanding. He scored 13, 12 and 13 in the respective rounds – very good scores for a two minute round as I say, but not unbeatable. So what was he going to produce tonight ? Well, going on 2009 form, with an extra half minute you’d expect about 16 . Actually he was well up to this standard, and produced 17, despite dropping a couple which I know that he knows. His total was 28, incidentally the same total that he managed in both the semi final and the final of the 2009 series. Add another four or five for specialist, which he is easily capable of doing for the semis, and then you have a very serious score indeed.

Not that the show was over yet. Duncan still had to go, but asking him to find 18 correct answers was a bit of a tall order. He started brightly, as did all of last night’s contenders, but pretty soon he was behind the clock. In the end , though, he too made it into double figures with 10, which was not quite enough to overhaul Karen for second place. A just reward for her GK round there, I thought.

So Ian goes forward. I was mentally asking myself whether if he wins he will be a simultaneous holder of the BoB and MM titles, but no, not quite. Mind you, there are quite a few of the other semi finalists who will have their say in the outcome of the series before anyone gets their hands on the glass bowl, I fancy. Well done Ian ! Good luck for the semis. Congratulations to Anne Skillen as well, who is now also guaranteed a semi final slot.

The Details

Karen Davies The Avengers and The New Avengers9 - 413 - 422 - 8
Ian BayleyThe Romanov Dynasty11 - 017 - 028 - 0
Andrew SmithiesThe History of the London Underground9 - 410 - 5 19 - 9
Duncan MitchellScottish Malt Whiskies11 - 210 - 321 - 5

Current Highest Scoring Runners-Up

Nick Mills – 34 – 4
Hamish Cameron – 30 – 2
Anne Skillen - 30 -7
James Collenette - 29 – 2
Philip Evans – 28 - 1
Duncan Byrne – 27 – 2


Anonymous said...

It was a very interesting show for me. I know Ian Bailey - I thought he looked nervous and ill at ease during both his rounds and similarly, I thought there were several questions that he didn't get that he knew the answers to.
Andrew played in the Oxford Buzzer tournament in November last year and was a member of my scratch team so it was nice to see him taking part.

Just as an aside, I'm auditioning for Only Connect next Saturday in a team with my little brother and Lisa who was almost a Radio Addict!

untruth said...

Good luck with the audition, Chris. I for one will be hoping and praying that you succeed, because if anyone deserves the absolute pleasure of being on The OC, it's Lisa, who was kind and gracious enough to let me take her place on the Radio Addicts.

Andrew Smithies was also on the 2010 OC series - as captain of The Pool Sharks, who fell to The Alesmen in the first round, after a sterling comeback

LisaH said...

Thanks for your kind words Neil. It was great to feel I had a small part in the Radio Addicts' success - even if it was only my pulling out which led indirectly to you winning the semi for them!

Londinius said...

Best of luck Chris ! And Lisa too ! I'm sure you will do well, and if ( when ) you get on, really enjoy it. It is the most fun I've had on TV.

Nice to hear from you Neil. Sorry I couldn't make it to Bristol, for the reasons which I explained in my post. Email account not working at the moment either - pain !