Friday, 22 February 2013

Mastermind - Semi Final 1

Tonight’s five contenders for the first spot in the Grand Final were : -

Matthew Bradshaw – 24th on my unofficial table
Michael Wright – 12th in my table
Aidan McQuade – 28th in my table
Kathryn Palmer – 6th on my table
Mark Grant – 13th on my table

Now, mere figures and statistics rarely tell the full story, but first round form suggested that Kathryn, with 31 overall and a good 15 on GK, and Mark who had a massive 18 on GK in the first round, would be the frontrunners, with Aidan – only 9 on GK in the first round, very much an outsider

This was a semi final remember, and the time limits change for the semis. So tonight the contenders were only given 90 seconds for their specialist rounds, meaning that double figures was the mark of a good round. Michael Wright, who kicked us off didn’t quite manage this . Still, for a ninety second round 9 is perfectly respectable, and didn’t mean that he would be completely out of the competition yet. I only had a couple. Mind you, maybe it was me, but I’m sure in one of the questions that John said that Don Warrington played Alan, and Richard Beckinsale Philip, while it was definitely the other way round. I am convinced that Don Warrington played Philip. That’s the sort of thing they normally reshoot. I guess nobody noticed it.

Michael Wright’s round on US Military Aircraft proved a surprisingly happy hunting ground for me tonight. I managed 8 to Michael’s 10, and I can only put it down to a few lucky guesses, and lingering memories of my old Airfix models from when I was a kid. Michael’s 15 in the first round heat marked him out as a dark horse for this show, and his specialist would certainly give him every chance of making the final.

So to the seeming outsider. Aidan McQuade had done what you must do, and picked his specialist subject well. His was only slightly better than Michael’s had been, but in a show like a semifinal where the margins can be so tight, then that one point can prove to be a godsend. Me? None whatsoever I’m afraid – Dennis Lehane is not someone with whose work I am familiar.

Kathryn Palmer impressed back in heat 4, where she scored an impressive 16 on Duran Duran. Her performance on the S. John’s Wood Clique maybe wasn’t quite such an impressive score, but it was a good one. 10 points put her just one point behind Aidan, with the GK to come. She had certainly scored a lot more in her heat on GK than Aidan had scored in his.

You might remember Mark taking third place in Jesse’s remarkable 2010 Grand Final, and you may even remember him being the runner up in Pat’s 2005 Grand Final. Mark has a superb Mastermind pedigree, and here he was bidding to become the first person ever to reach three Grand Finals. In the heat mark had answered on Henry Mayhew, and suffered from a set of nastily long questions. He didn’t have the same problem tonight, and scored 10 and no passes on the film collaborations of Marlene Dietrich and Josef von Sternberg. It hadn’t quite been a perfect round, but it was a very good one, and with only a point between himself and the leader mark looked favourite to make his third Grand Final

First, though, Matthew Bradshaw came back to the chair. Having only managed 10 in a two and a half minute round in the heats it looked as it he might struggle in this company. He did manage to add another 7 to his score, but to be honest 16 didn’t look as if it would stay the top score for very long. Never mind. Making the Mastermind semis is an achievement worth being proud of. Michael Wright didn’t provide us with one of the fastest rounds that we’ve seen, passing no less than 4 times. Still, he did raise the target to 19, and that meant that the others would at least have to negotiate their way through the corridor of uncertainty.

Kathryn produced a strangely polarized round. For the best part of the first minute she really struggled to get started. However the second minute was much more what the doctor ordered, and she grew in confidence as it progressed, She too added nine to her score, but a smaller pass tally now gave her the lead. Mark, though, lurked in the wings. I will be honest and say that although this round was not as impressive as his fantastic GK round in the heats, I did think it was going to be good enough. He reached the target of 19, with no passes, and there was still time for three questions. mark did not get the right answer to any of them though, which left Aidan McQuade in a position which had looked unlikely before the start of the show. He needed to find 9 correct answers – not easy, and not a given in a 2 minute round, but distinctly doable if you keep your head. Aiden did pause excruciatingly on one question, and he wasn’t going as quickly as many we’ve seen. However he was concentrating hard, and making sure he picked off what he knew. In the end he managed 10, to put just a little daylight between himself and his pursuers. Very well played , sir! You’ve taken a scalp there. Hard lines to the other four contenders, but well played all.

The Details

Matthew Bradshaw Rising Damp 9 – 1 7 – 2 16 – 3
Michael Wright US Military Aircraft of the Second World War 10 – 1 9 – 4 19 – 5
Aidan McQuade The Novels of Dennis Lehane 11 – 0 10 – 1 21 – 1
Kathryn Palmer St. John’s Wood Clique 10 – 1 9 – 1 19 – 2
Mark Grant Films of Dietrich and Von Sternberg 10 – 09 – 0 19 – 0

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