Saturday, 23 March 2013

Brain of Britain - The Grand Final 2013

Ah, the Grand Final! First a salute to the four finalists,
Jenny Dunn
Darren Martin
Barry Simmons
David Stainer

Jenny kicked off by scoring on her first two, but missed out on Diogenes the Cynic. Barry had the bonus there. Not a gimme, but you can’t afford to miss those in the final. Darren answered 2, but didn’t know that Philip Pullman had recently retold some of the Grimm Fairy Tales. Nobody had a bonus from that one. On to Barry. He ripped off three in quick succession, but just couldn’t remember that it was Michael Buerk’s report on the Ethiopian famine that led to Band Aid and Live Aid. That got David off the mark, and led on to his set. David took one, but didn’t know the Apollo asteroids. Me neither. Barry did, and you have to say that he had made a very clear statement of intent in the first round, leading by 3 points with 5.

Jenny maybe should have known ULCC – Ultra Large Crude Carrier, which gave Darren a bonus. Darren zigged with Portsmouth for the capital of Monserrat, Barry zagged with Plymouth, and Barry had the point. In his own set he took three, and not three easy ones at that, but rather surprisingly nobody knew that Yeats had written about the wild swans at Coole. David was felled by his first question, asking what Tom from Tom and Jerry was called in his first cartoon. I have actually seen it – but I didn’t remember until Russell gave us the answer Jasper. Barry now had a lead of 9 points to Darren’s 3. I wouldn’t have necessarily said that the game was already over by this point, but I would say that at this stage a 6 pointer was starting to look necessary for the other competitors.

I did exactly what Jenny did with her first question. she was played a piece of music, and told it was from an opera based on a work by Walter Scott, then asked for the name of the composer. –Ah – thought I – must be Lucia Di Lammermoor – Donizetti. Wrong. David gave the correct answer of Arthur Sullivan. Gap cut to 6. Darren took his first, but was given a really nasty one on the peculiar people of Plumstead. Everyone I met in Plumstead was very nice. Barry was asked in which decade JJ Thompson discovered the electron. I couldn’t have even said which century. Nobody knew it was the 1890s. David then was gifted an opportunity to make further inroads into Barry’s lead. He took his first, but when asked which of his co stars from the Carry On films Kenneth Williams insisted on accompanying on her honeymoon he went for Joan Sims, giving Darren the bonus on Barbara Windsor. Barry’s lead over Darren was down to 9.

For the Beat the Brains interval, the questions were set by Ray Ward, the 2012 champ. Of which country, he asked, is Graham Bell island a part? The brains leaned towards Australia, incorrectly. The answer was Russia, amazingly. The second asked what distinction is owned by Coffee Club Island. It’s the most northerly land on earth.

Back to the show. Jenny, asked for Judi Dench’s middle name, and told it is taken from the play “Twelfth Night” mentally tossed a coin, and came up tails with Viola. Unfortunately it was heads with Olivia, which Barry knew for a bonus. Darren’s first gave us the chance to listen to the marvellously evocative theme from the old French made Robinson Crusoe TV series. Altogether now - La la-la la la-laaahhh -. He had it of course. Darren was unlucky not to be given a point for ‘nuclear fusion’ in the next question, when the answer required, as supplied by David , was ‘cold fusion’. Correct adjudication – but we’ve seen answers more wrong than that given points earlier in the series. Barry took two, but didn’t know that Sir Stanley Matthews began his career with Stoke City. David had that. For his own set he took one, but couldn’t answer on the personal physician to Queen Anne. David was now 2nd with 7 to Barry’s 11.

Jenny missed her first, on a scientist called Robert Robinson – also the name of the late and much missed former chairman of this very quiz. Not that I don’t think Russell does a great job – he does, and I still think he has the best voice on the radio, bar none. Darren didn’t know that Monte Cassino was a principal monastery of the Benedictine order. David had that, and the gap for a moment was starting to look of possibly manageable proportions. Barry doesn’t panic, though. He gave two great answers, but didn’t know that Anne of Cleeves is the only one of Henry VIII’s wives to be buried in Westminster Abbey. Who answered that ? David. This was getting very interesting. David took two, but didn’t know that an erg is an accumulation of sand in a desert, and also a unit of energy. Barry struck like a coiled cobra on that one. David now had 11, and Barry 14.

Jenny didn’t know about the invasive Harlequin ladybird, and I was a little surprised that nobody else fancied a stab at this one. Darren didn’t recognise the last lines of King Lear. Point to David, gap down to 2 points. Barry answered one, but didn’t get Adam’s Bridge. David did. Gap remained at 2 points. 2 answers from David now, and all would be square. Sadly for him, David is too young to have been around when Aladdin Sane first came out, and so Darren swooped in for a bonus. Suddenly, announced Russell, that was it! That had actually been the last round. The final scores then were

Jenny Dunn – 2
Darren Martin – 7
David Stainer – 13
Barry Simmons – 15

Hard lines David, and Darren and Jenny. But many, many congratulations to Barry! We all knew what a great quizzer he is anyway, but this was a terrific performance. He took the lead from the outset, and although David made a magnificent fightback, Barry always had his nose in front. This was a great show. Many congratulations to all involved. But hail to Barry Simmons, Brain of Britain 2013!

No comments: