Pat Barker interestingly described herself as a retired dogsbody. The subtitles only transcribed retired, funnily enough. Her subject was Eastenders. That’s one of those heads you win, tails I lose subjects. People who don’t know any better point to subjects like this as ‘proof’ that the show is dumbing down , and yet preparing properly for one of these is a hell of a slog, I should imagine. Yet even if you do well on such a subject, you possibly don’t get the credit you deserve anyway. Pat managed a good 12. It seemed to me that there were a disproportionate amount of questions about the last few years, but then that may just be my mind playing tricks on me.
Our next contender gave us a much more traditional sort of specialist subject. Diana Muir was answering questions on the Life and Work of Sir Joseph Banks. Banks was probably best known for his voyage with Captain Cook. As I expected, the Botany Bay chestnut came out, although not as the first question of the round. I managed a couple of others as well- the William Bligh question was a little bit of a gimme too. Overall, though, I felt it seemed like a difficult round, and Diana did pretty well to get into double figures.
Finally John Tanner, with the slightly macabre subject of the executioner Albert Pierrepoint. I make no bones about it, there were only two of these I could answer. One of these was Pentonville Prison. As for the other – well, towards the end of the round John was asked for the name of the Acid Bath Murderer. A bit of an old chestnut that. “John Haigh !” – I shouted. “Neville Haigh.” answered John, possibly using the christian name of Neville Heath by mistake, and missing out on the point. That’s a point for any aspiring contender to note. Had he just given the surname Haigh, I’m sure he would have got the point, although John Humphrys would probably have answered “Yes, JOHN Haigh.” Notwithstanding this, John still managed a highly competitive 14.
I found it difficult to assess the relative difficulty of the first two GK rounds. Without wishing to be horrible in any way, neither Diana nor Pat ever managed to gain enough of a momentum in their rounds to get through a large amount of questions. Diana did briefly take the lead with her total of 17, and Pat, who also scored 7 in her GK round, raised this to 19. John Tanner started very positively, but the mid round doldrums, which are so common in a 2 and a half minute round – saw him becalmed, and in the end he managed to cross the line with 11 points. That actually gave him 25 – not a massive score, but a pretty decent one. So anything in double figures would guarantee Malcolm Sumner the win. As GK rounds go I thought his was pretty gentle, and while it wasn’t the quickest that we’ve seen, he was always on target to achieve the 26 he needed with at least 20 seconds to spare. In the end he posted the highest GK score of the night with 12, to win with 28. For his last question, when asked who composed the theme music of the film “Bridge On The River Kwai “ he replied “Ahh. . . “ but couldn’t finish it with “. . . rnold “ which is what I think John was waiting for. Still, a good performance, even if it does mark him out as more of an outsider than a dark horse for the final.
|Malcolm Sumner||Life and Career of Bing Crosby||16 – 1||12 – 3||28 – 4|
|Pat Barker||Eastenders||12 – 2||7 – 2||19 – 4|
|Diana Muir||The Life and work of Sir Joseph Banks||10 – 0||7 -2||17 – 2|
|John Tanner||Albert Pierrepoint||14 – 0||11 – 0||25 – 0|