Any longer term readers may have noticed the Mastermind "reviews" after each episode have disappeared. I am still glued to the show as usual but the reason behind the reports vanishing is the fact that since moving I do not have the Internet at home yet and thus it isn’t until Monday I would get chance to do the report at the library or before work. By that time it is old news so I have dropped the feature from the site. (Shame, as it did attract a lot of traffic with people seemingly self-googling).
Anyway just a few issues that have arisen in recent weeks. First off, the show now in the semi-final stage is back to having 5 people instead of the four in the previous round. Is it just me or does the 5-person to a show seem a bit too many? I love the competitive element of the semi’s don’t get me wrong but I think having 5 people takes something away.
What tends to happen is that the scores get very close, there is little room for error and dare I say it, luck comes into it much more prominently. Gareth Kingston appeared on the show a few weeks back, a known figure on the UK quizzing circuit and a favourite to take the crown this year. Gareth ended up loosing on a tiebreak to Nick Reed. Nick has shown some excellent quizzing in previous rounds so this is by no means any disrespect to him. I am sure he will be a force to be reckoned with in the final. But Gareth seemed to be dealt a bad hand in the way he was given “long” questions and despite answering with perhaps the fastest recall of the 5 quizzers he was defeated in a tiebreak. Gareth was asked 3 less questions than Nick in the entire show, meaning if Gareth got only one of those he would have won and made it to the final. 3 questions may not seem like a lot but we are talking about fine margins here in Mastermind and it counted against Gareth.
I am using this example to question whether or not the show should go to 4 person semi finals? I do not think there is much chance of the BBC extending a 5 person semi final to 40-45 minutes so the only option to make the Semi Finals fairer in my eyes is to go to 4 person Semi Finals. This would give a more balanced playing field and help spread the scores more and give contestants more chance overall of showing what they are really made of. I have Gareth on facebook and I know this issue has caused a lot of discussion on there about his fate on the show.
Either way best of luck to Nick Reed in the Mastermind final. I know he has read the blog before and of course I mean no insult by my comments just a casual observance.
Another of my quizzing facebook friends, Gary Grant, also made the Semi Finals this year. He stormed to an impressive victory on this weeks episode and is a front runner to take the crown. But despite the victory he himself raised the issue that the last question was asked after the buzzer. We all know that “I’ve started so I’ll finish” is the famous rule from the show but Humprheys clearly had not started. The question in the end did not matter as Gary had won with an impressive total but this was the second time John Humprheys has done this this series. It could turn out to matter a lot especially in the close semi finals we have seen. I have also noticed huge differences in the speed he reads questions, going so fast sometimes he is hard to understand which cuts down recall speed as you would have to decipher what he said. Also one other point I am noticing is when he gives an answer after an incorrect one he sometimes wastes valuable seconds giving it instead of speedy responses. Obviously this is a very very trivial issue for viewers and unimportant for most, but for those in the black chair I imagine it gets annoying.
Anyway, the final is to be aired on 4th May. Nick Reed, Gary Grant and David Love have made it so far and with those three alone its going to be tough to call.
Incidentally, I have applied for the next series and was wondering if anyone had heard anything back?