Enough of such chaff. Tonight's first contender was Diane Hallagan. Diane reached the semis through being runner up in heat 24 back in February. Back then she answered on Peter Tinniswood. Tonight though she produced a near flawless round on the TV series Black Books. Despite being beaten in her first round show, Diane actually had the highest combined score, and comfortably the highest general knowledge score of tonight's contenders. With a massive 14, a superb score for a 90 second specialist round, Diane was going to be hard to beat.
Philip Evans too qualified through the repechage board. He had been runner up in show 17, when he had answered on the Welsh Settlement in Patagonia. Ironically he had the next best first round score of tonight's contenders after Diane. Tonight he answered on the Life and Times of Oskar Schindler. His fine 10 really showed just how good Diane's round had been - after all a 90 second 10 is the equivalent of a 13 or 14 in old money. Still, with 4 points to make up on Diane the task ahead of him looked a daunting one.
Kate Morris won show 16 , answering on Gilbert and Sullivan. Tonight's subject was the Plays of Richard Brindley Sheridan. She started very brightly, although maybe it was my imagination, but I thought you could hear the nerves in her voice. In mid round she hit a pass spiral, and it took a lot of courage to pull out by the end of the round, which she managed to do. Valuable time had gone though, and she bottomed out with 7 points, leaving her with no realistic chance of making the final.
Our fourth contender , Martin Short , had achieved the considerable feat in heat 20 of setting the lowest score of the heat on specialist , yet winning the show on GK. Back then he was answering on The Witches of Pendle. Tonight he gave the rock band Deep Purple a go. He too started well, but soon ground to a halt, and hit his own pass spiral. By the time he recovered the damage had been done, and he too finished with 7 points.
In a change of pace our final contender, Geoff Weller, offered us the Life and Times of Martin Luther. Way back last year, in heat 5, we saw him win answering on The Manic Street Preachers. To be in with any chance of winning he desperately needed a big score, but this was a tough round. Like the two previous contenders he got away from the line well, but the answers proved hard and harder to find as the round progressed. He fared slightly better than Kate and Martin, but still only managed 8 points.
Diane was in a certainly enviable position, and its surely not unfair to say that she is the best general knowledge quizzer of the 5 contenders. However nothing was done and dusted yet. Kate returned to the chair, and she scored a battling 9 points. This brought her the lead, but only by 2 points. Martin didn't manage this , falling again into a pass spiral , I'm afraid. He finished with 15. Spare a thought for Geoff Weller. He started to flounder, and although he avoided making more than one pass, he really struggled to find the answers. The final indignity was that he finished with 14 and 2 passes, which meant that Diane had already beaten him , before she'd even returned to the chair. A bad day at the office, and it could happen to any of us.
Philip Evans remained the only contender with any realistic chance of causing another upset victory. He tried, but it never really happened for him in the round. He studiously made sure that he supplied answers to every question, but not quickly enough, and I'm afraid not accurately enough to help set a realistic target. Yes, his overall total of 18 gave him the lead, but Diane had yet to go, and with only 4 points required it would need a disaster of almost biblical proportions to prevent her from taking the win.
Needless to say there was no such disaster. You could tell from Diane's face that she was annoyed about some of the questions she missed, but to be fair she was already comfortably over the event horizon when it happened. In the end She added 10 to the score, to win by a resounding 6 points. Well done Diane ! Best of luck for the Grand Final.
On a personal note, I can at least point to the fact that Diane was one of the contenders I highlighted in my preview of the semis as a 'dangerous floater' in the middle of the table, whose chances had to be taken seriously. Is the power of the curse weakening ? I hope so.
|Diane Hallagan||The TV Series Black Books||14 - 1||10 -2||24 - 3|
|Philip Evans||The Life of Oskar Schindler||10 - 0||8 - 0||18 - 0|
|Kate Morris||The Plays of Richard Brinsley Sheridan||7 - 4||9 - 6||16 - 10|
|Martin Short||Deep Purple||7 - 3||8 - 4||15 - 7|
|Geoff Weller||The Life and Times of Martin Luther||8 - 1||6 - 1||14 - 2|