Saturday, 12 April 2014

Fifteen to One - Flamin' Pictures and Pointless Easter

Well, Fifteen to One has been on all week now. I still think that the new incarnation is too long at 45 minutes, and I still think that round one moves far too slowly, and round two could even be a little bit quicker. But . . . well, I think I’m becoming hooked. I think I might have mentioned that last September I took over as acting Head of English at work, and this is why I’ve found it very difficult to post during the week. Well, for the same reason I don’t often get home before 5, so I have to catch up with them when I can. For example, I watched Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s shows in a marathon this morning. And I thoroughly enjoyed it too. It’s interesting to see how many quizzers I know, or at least know of, who have already taken part in this season. Only yesterday we saw 2011 Brain of Britain champion Iwan Thomas make it to the last three on his third attempt, and set the target at over 200. Not that I like to boast you understand, , but Iwan has the news questions and answers from me every week. For that matter, so does the winner of the first show, Nic Mortimer. Maybe one of the appeals of the show is the cruel nature of it. Maybe there are only two questions in the whole show that you can’t answer, but if those are the first two you get asked, then that’s tough. So it’s no surprise really that some good quizzers I know have been falling before the final round, and I’ll be honest, hearing some of the out and out stoppers that have been slung in I don’t think I would have done any better. Gotta be honest though, if there is another series – and I sincerely hope there will be, then I’ll be putting in an application again, you can be sure of that.


However good you are you’re going to get things wrong from time to time. So you have to get used to it and lump it. But don’t you just hate it when the question is about something important to you, something which you love, which by rights you ought to know? On Thursday evening I was irresistibly reminded of my Millionaire experience. I threw away a large amount of money on the question - In which country was Milos Forman born? I should have known the answer – I thought I did, and I didn’t. Ouch. But what made it worse – if it could be worse – was that Milos Forman directed two films which I absolutely love – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – and – Amadeus. Now, on Thursday night we were given a picture handout – yuck, pictures – showing stills from a set of films. We did OK, and only had about 3 or 4 wrong. But one of them was from The Shawshank Redemption. I wouldn’t like to say that I have one, top of the pile, all time favourite film, but if I did, the Shawshank Redemption would be on the shortlist. I just hate picture rounds. Mind you, other than that it was a very good night, since both my team and Lemurs looked pretty close to full strength, and we had enough of a lead on the question rounds to be able to overcome the deficit from the pictures and seal a win.


I mentioned back in the Christmas holidays that I taught myself how to make an interactive Pointless quiz on Powerpoint. Last weekend I put together an end of term Easter quiz, being as this week just gone was the last week of term, so that I could have a bit of fun with a couple of classes. You can imagine the sort of thing – for example, a round on Easter bunnies whereby teams had to identify 5 cartoon rabbits, which appeared as the strains of Chas and Dave’s timeless oeuvre played in the background. Ah, they don’t make ‘em like that any more. I guess a lot of other teachers had the same idea, since I uploaded it to the TES online site last weekend, and it had been downloaded almost 2000 times by yesterday. It didn’t go down too badly with the kids either, although for some reason some of the questions seemed to pose real problems to a couple of classes. I’m thinking particularly of one which went something like – Name the special day which occurs in the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday? – I was looking for Good Friday, but would have been perfectly happy to be offered Maunday Thursday as well. Neither of these were offered. Instead we had Black Friday – Bad Monday – Shrove Tuesday and Easter Thursday. I suppose I should just be grateful that they didn’t offer me Sheffield Wednesday.


Unknown said...

Is it just me, or are there more really tough questions in this incarnation of 15-1? I seem to remember in the original series regularly going through an entire set 40 final questions on occasion with only a handful wrong, but not with this version. Are the Qs more uneven?

Londinius said...

Hi WJ,

I'm wary of nailing my colours to the mast on this one, since it is a long time since 15 to 1 finished in its original incarnation, and distance lends enchantment to the view and all that, but yes, I have asked myself the same question. Iwan's set the other day when he amassed over 200, for example, whle not easy were, I thought fair, and I would have really fancied my chances on them. On the other hand there's been sets where there have been up to three or four stoppers in fairly short order. When total scores make such a difference, well, there is an argument for going for consistency in the level of the 40 questions for the final round.

Don't get me wrong - it makes for an exciting show. Whoever you are, for all you know that nasty stopper can be just round the corner. You cannot go into the final round thinking - well, normally there's never more than two questions in the final round I can't answer, so let's just keep taking question after question.

Time will tell when we see who makes it through to the Grand Final, and who doesn't.

Unknown said...

Because of the presence of "stoppers" and the fact that only a low score is required to get to the final, it means that it's really not worth taking questions unless there are only a few left - better just to elimante the opposition. This has reduced the tactics for the final round.

jim360 said...

Finally watched this for the first time today. The one I saw was perhaps a repeat of a match, but it featured Ewan MacAulay from the recent UC series and someone who looked like they've been on The Chase in the number 1 position, I forget her name. Anyway, it seemed not too bad although the first round dragged a bit. The questions seemed to vary in standard greatly, but at least they still have a long second round and 40 questions in the third so there isn't too much of a format change. I'll probably not get to see it too often but when I do I think it'll be worth a watch.