Monday, 27 August 2012

University Challenge: Round 1: Match 5: Queen Mary vs Jesus

So, what did University Challenge have to offer us tonight?

Queen Mary is a constituent of the University of London; it was founded in 1887, but didn’t join the university until 1915. Alumni include Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, cricket’s WG Grace, and University Challenge’s Roger Tilling. Tonight’s quartet are the first team from the institution to appear in the Paxo era; they were:
Patrick Woodburn, from Woldingham in Surrey, studying Medicine
Alistair Haigh, from Harrogate, studying Biology and Psychology
Captain: Luca Cavalli, from South London, studying Physcis
Michael Hammond, from North London, studying History

Jesus College Oxford was founded in 1571 by Elizabeth I, and is the only Oxford college to date from her reign. It last sent a team two years ago, where they were annihilated by Edinburgh in the first round (335-35); the team from the year before made the quarter-finals. Tonight’s team were:
Matt Hitchings, from London, studying Mathematical Modelling
Frankie Goodway, from London, studying English
Captain: Guy Brindley, from Worcestershire, studying Classics
Johnny Woodward, from Winchester, studying Engineering

Mr Hitchings was unlucky on the first starter question, answering ‘Sherlock’ when Sherlock Holmes was what was required. He and his team soon recovered though, and opened up a lead, which, although Queen Mary came close to overtaking, they never quite managed.

One question listed the various royal roles, and dates during the 16th century; when JP said the holder was executed in 1540, I knew it was Thomas Cromwell; neither team got that answer, Queen Mary making the understandable mistake of saying Thomas More, and Jesus saying Cardinal Wolsey.

Jesus maintained a steady lead throughout the second half, and, with roughly three minutes left, were ahead 150-70. But Queen Mary began a late surge, which, although impressive and respectable, wasn’t quite enough to catch the leaders. Jesus won the game, 150-120.

Matt Hitchings’ five starters was the best individual performance for the Oxonians, but the side managed just 12 bonuses out of 33 (with four penalties for interrupting incorrectly), and they’ll need to improve on that to progress further. Alistair Haigh’s three were best for the Londoners, who managed 9 bonuses out of 21 (with one penalty).

Next match: Magdalen College Oxford vs Sidney Sussex College Cambridge

On another note, Saturday’s Archive on 4 (on Radio 4) told the story of University Challenge, with interviews with Bambi and Paxo, plus contestants from over the years, including Sean Blanchflower (Trinity College Cambridge, 1994-95), Luke Pitcher (Somerville College Oxford, 2001-02), and, of course, Gail Trimble (Corpus Christi College, Oxford 2008-09), who talked about where her exceptional ability came from, and her sadness at her team’s disqualification.

Also, special mention to the new series of Only Connect, which began this evening on BBC4. It was a great match, and I’m sure Dave Clark will post a review of some sort over on LAM at some point, if you’d like to go and have a look.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Deal or No Deal - 21st-26th August

Well, belatedly, here’s a summary of the post 2,000th show shows this week.

Tuesday 21st: Scott
Winnings: £50,000
Opened the box
Highest offer: £25,250 (2-box)
Box value: £50,000

Well, this one divided opinion dramatically. Scott made it clear early on that he was going for the £250,000. So, even though it became increasingly isolated, the offers he received were very generous. For a while, it looked like he should’ve dealt the generous 11-box offer of £22,000, with the £250,000 and the £50,000 higher. However, he kept the £50,000 to 2-box, along with £500. The Banker offered him the average for that final pairing. Scott turned this down, which divided opinion on the forum. The fact that it paid off made a lot of analysts not-too-pleased. I’m happy for Scott that his gamble paid off, but I wouldn’t like every player to be like him.

Wednesday 22nd: Gael
Winnings: £100
Opened the box
Highest offer: £5,000 (14-box)
Box value: £100

An unlucky game; Gael never made any truly bad decisions, the boxes were just unkind to her. £3,250 at 5-box was possibly worth considering as a consolation deal, but I think most would’ve been happy to gamble there. An unfortunate game overall.

Thursday 23rd: Edd
Winnings: £18,250
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £31,000 (5-box)
Box value: 50p

Edd came across well on the wings as a good reader of the board. The Banker clearly recognised this, and, so, when faced with a stable board at 8-box, he asked Edd to estimate the offer. Edd guessed £18,250 as a reasonable estimate, and the Banker agreed, making it the offer. After much thought, Edd decided to deal. Alas, the £250,000 stayed another round, and he could’ve had an offer of £31,000. But, luckily, the £250,000 went in the final round, and 50p was in the box, so a good result from a good game.

Friday 24th: Angela
Winnings: £850
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £1,700 (2-box)
Box value: £5,000

Tough game. A really unfortunate start saw the big sums vanish quite dramatically, leaving £5,000 as the highest sum left at 8-box. At 5-box, the Banker offered her £850. Statistically, a good offer, but given the low stakes, most would happily gamble. Angela decided not to, and took the money. Unfortunately, the £5,000 was in her box, in an unfortunate climax to an unfortunate game.

Sunday 26th: Doogie
Winnings: £4,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £18,500 (2-box)
Box value: £1,000

Doogie was a nice chap, who, half way through, revealed that he was playing to win money to get a wheelchair for his disabled wife, and also to get money for his granddaughter, who had some kind of perception condition. His game looked like it was going wrong, but he managed to keep £50,000 in play to 5-box. The Banker offered him £4,000, which he quickly decided to take. Unfortunately, the £50,000 stayed to the end, and the offer would’ve risen to £18,500 (allegedly). Luckily, though, it was not in the box. A good calm game to finish off a steady week for the show, that gradually calmed down after the excitement of the first two shows.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Deal or No Deal: 2,000th Show (20/08/12)

Well, Deal or No Deal has certainly come a long way in just under seven years. Yesterday, it reached it's milestone 2,000th show. And what a show it was...

Monday 20th: Lara
Winnings: £6,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £7,000 (17-box)
Box value: £10

Well, the show began with Lara saying she was going to start with Boxes 1 to 5. Box 1 had £35,000. Box 2 had £50,000. Box 3 had £75,000. Noel was getting incredibly surprised, and many were beginning to think it looked odd. Box 4 had… £100,000! Noel began to hype up the possibility that this would be the worst opening round ever. Box 5 had… £250,000!

Gasps everywhere. Noel said he was speechless. Lara said she was fine.

The power went out. The board vanished. A voice proclaimed “we’ve finally got you Noel!” Mark Olver, the studio warm-up man, walked in, and told Noel that he’d been had; the entire round was a set-up that Lara was in on! Nong, who won £250,000 a couple of weeks back, walked on and presented Noel with a trophy for his years of service on the show.

The game then began for real with the boxes resealed. Alas, the £250,000 went in the second box.

Throughout the rest of the show, Lara continued to take out the big sums, and, at 8-box, £15,000 was the highest sum left. The Banker offered £3,000, which was highly respectable. Lara turned it down.

The fifth round saw the big sums remain intact, with £5,000, £10,000 and £15,000 remaining. The Banker offered £6,000, which was practically the average for the board. Lara very sensibly decided to call it a day.

And the perfect crash round saw the final reds go from the board, leaving an all-blue finish.

The Banker then said Lara had been so convincing in that fake opening round, which many people agreed with. He rewarded her for her superb acting with a two week family holiday to the Maldives.

So, the 2,000th show went down very well. Everyone seems to think it was a success.

Still, on the face of it, it was pretty pale compared to today’s show! Tune back in on Sunday for details of the rest of the week.

Monday, 20 August 2012

University Challenge: Round 1: Match 4: Strathclyde vs Durham

Well, this was going to be interesting. Normally, Durham gets my undivided support, seeing as my mother studied at Durham. However, she went on to do a PhD at Strathclyde! So, therefore, I was undecided who to support.

Strathclyde began life as a college in 1796, and later became the second university in Glasgow. It’s now the third largest in Scotland. It last entered the contest in 2005-06, where its team narrowly lost a low scoring first round match to Birmingham. Playing for them tonight were:
Michael Doreszenko, from Kilmarnock, studying Electrical and Mechanical Engineering
Julia Hyslop, from Glasgow, studying Chemistry
Captain: Martin Nealon, from Glasgow, studying Politics
Bruce Wareham, Campbeltown in Argyll, studying Chemistry

Yay, a full team of Scots!

Durham is the third oldest university in England after Oxford and Cambridge, a fact I first learned on the Weakest Link twelve years ago! It has not missed a series of UC for fourteen years; last year, its team trounced Plymouth in the first round, and were unlucky to draw and lose to Homerton College Cambridge in the second. Playing for them this year were:
Philip Ferry, from Northumberland, studying Maths
Katie Vokes, from Edinburgh, studying Maths
Captain: Richard Thomas, from Hook in Hampshire, studying Politics
Dominic Everett Riley, from Farnham in Surrey, studying English

Like last year, Durham quickly leapt out into the lead, scoring well on the bonuses. Strathclyde incurred a penalty early on, and this may have knocked their early confidence. Durham picked up an early penalty too, and Strathclyde were a little unlucky not to pick up that starter.

By the time we reached the music round, Durham lead 155-(-5). Paxo gave his usual reassurance to Strathclyde that “there’s still plenty of time”; as Dave Clark and Iain Weaver have both said before, when he says that to you, you know you’re in trouble. The music starter was dropped, but Strathclyde finally got going with the replacement starter. On the music bonuses, on bands where one member has a PhD, I recognised one of the songs (from, of all things, a Tony Hawk computer game!), but I didn’t know who it was, which was really annoying.

Durham continued to power on throughout the second half, and, at the picture round, the score was 220-10. Strathclyde couldn’t catch them, but could they still recover to a respectable score.

Yes they could. In the closing minutes, Michael Doroszenko, who had been trying unsuccessfully to buzz in throughout the game, scored three consecutive starters, which lifted his team out of the ‘Sub 50 Club’, and into respectability.

The final score was a victory for Durham by 245-70, which is fair enough. Mr Doroszenko’s three starters were his side’s best tally; they answered 6 bonuses out of 15 with two penalties. Durham split their starters evenly, with all four getting at least two starters; Philip Ferry’s four was best; the side answered 26 bonuses out of 36, which is very impressive, and incurred just the one penalty.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have our first real contenders for the series title here.

Next week’s match: Queen Mary London vs Jesus College Oxford

Tune back in tomorrow for a review of the 2,000th Deal or No Deal!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Deal or No Deal - 13th-19th August

This week of DoND has been the build-up to the landmark 2,000th show, which is tomorrow. It’s been a great week as well, with very sizeable wins all week.

Monday 13th: David
Winnings: £13,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £16,500
Box value: £100

Not a bad game by any means. David made a sensible decision for the board; he could have had a bit more if he’d gone on one more round, but, ultimately, still a good result. The show will likely be remembered more for the non-gameplay antics, notably the Banker trying to find David a new girlfriend by putting subliminal messages on the gameboard (the word ‘sexy’ flashed across the board at least once during the first round).

Tuesday 14th: Antonia
Winnings: £17,500
Dealt at: 11-box
Highest offer: £52,000 (5-box)
Box value: £50

Yep, a cautious deal at 11-box. Not really surprising; Antonia had a board that was probably much stronger than she’d have expected, and (quite rightly) saw the statistically poor offers as huge sums of money. Can’t blame her for dealing given that. No Power 5 damage during the fourth round would’ve seen the offer reach £31,000. £75,000 going wasn’t enough to avoid the fifth offer rising to £52,000. But that’s as far as she should’ve gone, as the £250,000 went after that, and, while £100,000 stayed to the end, it wasn’t in her box. So, yes, a cautious deal, and an unlucky proveout, but not as bad as it could have been. And I hope Antonia makes the most of the money as well.

Wednesday 15th: Andy
Winnings: £35,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £30,000 (8-box)
Box value: £35,000

Andy was a great player, who had offered much support in the 24 shows he’d been on the wings for. A run of good luck saw him reach 8-box with all the Power 5 (except the £100,000) in play, along with four blues. The Banker offered £30,000. Fellow player Lara revealed that was close to his target, and the Banker persuaded her to reveal Andy’s target as £35,000. He then told Andy that, if he dealt, he could predict what colour his box sum would be, and, if he guessed right, he’d get an extra £5,000, bringing him up to £35,000. Andy dealt the £30,000; a good move, as £75,000 and £250,000 went in the next round. £50,000 left £35,000 as the only red left on the board, meaning that, in effect, if he had £35,000 in the box, he’d win it. He did, so he got the extra £5,000, in a good result to, what was already, a great game. Best game of a very strong week.

Thursday 16th: Amy
Winnings: £20,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £20,000 (5-box)
Box value: £750

Amy’s seem to have a good track record on the show, as the most recent ones I can remember have all achieved ‘Banker spankings’. I had a feeling this one would too, and she did! She made some brave no deals along the way though. It was a risky board, with the £250,000 becoming increasingly isolated. She managed to keep it to 5-box, which saw an offer of £20,000. With just the £250,000 higher, it was a sensible decision to deal. And, pleasingly, it was immediately justified when the £250,000 went in the very first box after the deal. A great follow up game to Andy’s, and a second consecutive ‘Banker spanking’. What more could you ask for?

Friday 17th: Paul
Winnings: £12,500
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £26,000 (8-box)
Box value: £50

Many had been awaiting Paul’s game, as a shot of him in his game looking emotional was used in a teaser trail suggesting a male had finally won the £250,000 (something Noel, and numerous others I won’t name desperately want). It quickly became clear, though, that, if he had the £250,000, he wouldn’t win it, as shown by the way he slowly and emotionally considered the offers. Again, the £250,000 became isolated. At 8-box, £12,500 was enough for Paul to call quits, with the £250,000 and £15,000 higher. Unfortunately, both higher sums stayed to the next offer, which would (allegedly) have been £26,000. But both disappeared in the final round, so not as bad a result as it could have been. And, again, I hope Paul makes the most of his winnings.

Sunday 19th: Noel
Winnings: £15,500
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £17,000 (8-box)
Box value: 10p

Yep, a player called Noel (the second player Noel to appear on the show). Noel E started a runner midway through the game that he and player Noel were father and son, which some may have got annoyed by. Player Noel attracted high generosity from the Banker, with the second and third offers in the slipstream of the average. £17,000 at 8-box was only a couple of grand off the average, but, with a stable board, Noel decided to chance one more round. A damaging fifth round saw the £75,000 become isolated, and an offer of £15,500. Noel very sensibly bailed out, and was proven right to do so when the £75,000 went in the final round. A good result to finish off a very good week.

So, tune in tomorrow evening for a summary of University Challenge, and of the 2,000th Deal or No Deal!

Monday, 13 August 2012

University Challenge: Round 1: Match 3: Wadham vs Bristol

After a two week break for the Olympics, University Challenge returned this evening. I'd like to say we had a good match to resume normal service, but I'm not sure I can (no offence to either team).

Playing tonight were Wadham College Oxford and Bristol University.

Wadham College Oxford was founded in 1610, and former students include the soon-to-be-retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Christopher Wren, Michael Foot and, er, my Uncle John! The college last entered the show in 2006-07, where they trounced Robinson College Cambridge and Royal Holloway London, before losing a close match to eventual runners-up Manchester. Tonight's quartet, one of the youngest this series apparantly, were:
Alisatir Smout, from Harpenden in Hertfordshire, studying PPE
Jonathan Hall, from Sheffield, studying Politics
Captain: Jonathan Stanhope, from Durha, studying History and Politics
Oliver Forrest, from London, studying English

Bristol is somewhat newer, having been first established in the 1870s. Alumni include Lucas and Walliums of Little Britain fame, and the author David Nicholls (if you haven’t read Starter for Ten yet, do; it’s a seriously good book). The university last appeared on the show two years ago, where they scraped a win against St Andrews in the first round, and then trounced Newnham College Cambridge in the second; then, despite going into both their quarter-final matches as favourites, they lost both to Queens’ College Cambridge, and eventual runners-up York respectively. Playing tonight were:
James Xiao, from Hampsire, studying Chemistry
Andy Suttie, from Kelso in the Borders, studying the History and Philosophy of Science
Captain: Will Brady, from Hertford, studying Maths
Madeline Fforde, from Wiltshire, studying Classics and Ancient History

Bristol got off to the stronger start on the buzzers, but their poor showing on the bonuses meant that they could never draw out as big a lead as perhaps they could have. Wadham began to slowly make their way back into the match, but they too were struggling on the bonuses, notably, in the music round, on operas where the title character was called ‘Don’. Am I the only one who guessed that ‘Don Carlos would be the final one, before the first one was played?

Throughout the second half of the match, the sides generally swapped starters and, though Wadham came within touching distance a few times, they couldn’t overtake Bristol. Though both sides got starters, not very many bonuses followed suite. In the end, Bristol emerged narrow winners by 120-105. It wasn’t until I was typing up my usual short summary on the forum that I realised that Bristol’s score is the lowest winning score achieved under Mr Paxo’s tenure.

Andy Suttie’s four starters was Bristol’s best tally; the side answered 10 bonuses correctly out of a possible 27, with four incorrect interruptions. Wadham split the starters evenly, with all four players getting two each; the side only answered 6 bonuses out of 24, with one penalty.

Not a classic match by any means; with all due respect, neither side really got into gear. It was Bristol’s slightly better showing on the buzzers that won them the match, as neither side really impressed on the bonuses. Further progress for the Avonsiders looks unlikely, unless they improve on the bonuses next time, which is always a possibility.

Next week’s match: Strathclyde vs Durham

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Deal or No Deal - 6th-12th August

Well, after Nong’s sensational win last Sunday, I expressed fears on the forum that this week’s players could get carried away. Pleasingly, there has been no evidence of this at all.

Monday 6th: Gary
Winnings: £2,800
Dealt at: 3-box extra offer
Highest offer: £11,000
Box value: £50

Well, this was fascinating. At the second offer of £11,000, Gary asked for the question, and said ‘DEAL’ before Noel could finish it! Noel then reminded us (as if we needed to be) that no-one has ever dealt the second offer before. He asked Gary the full question, but this time he said ‘NO DEAL’! Audience regular John, along with some others on the forum, said they weren’t happy, as Gary likely would have dealt had Noel not said that extra thing. Sure, Noel’s influence may not have been intentional, but it still leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.

The game collapsed afterwards, leaving £15,000 as the highest remaining sum. Gary eventually recovered, through being allowed to play the final round one box at a time, to an offer of £2,800, which was enough to bail out. And the right thing to do to, as the £15,000 went immediately afterwards, leaving an all blue finish.

Tuesday 7th: Deb & Jan
Winnings: £14,000.50
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £34,000.50
Box value: £1

The presence of two chairs at the table made it obvious that the twins Deb & Jan were playing. It was interesting to observe the different reactions the twins made to the offers. For the first three offers, they said ‘NO DEAL’ in unison. However, at the 8-box offer of £14,000.50, Jan said ‘DEAL’ first, and Deb followed shortly afterwards. Deb later revealed she’d have gambled had she been on her own! They failed to uncover the £75,000 or the £250,000 in the fifth round, and the offer would’ve (allegedly) risen to £34,000.50 (the 50p motif was due to an audience member lending the twins a 50p to toss to decide who picked the box first), but the £250,000 went in the final round and, although the £75,000 stayed to the end, it wasn’t in the box, so a good result to an enjoyable game.

Wednesday 8th: Hayley
Winnings: £6,000
Dealt at: 2-box
Highest offer: £6,000 (2-box)
Box value: £15,000

After 27 shows of waiting, Hayley was finally called out on her 28th show. A tough start left £100,000 isolated until 8-box, and, after it went, £15,000 was isolated. The Banker allowed her to play the final round one at a time, and, incredibly, her final three (1p, £50 and £15,000) was the same as Gary’s on Monday! After declining the offer Gary took (£2,800), the 1p went, resulting in an offer of £6,000. Hayley decided to bail out at this. Alas, the £15,000 was in her box, but no-one (well, almost no-one) really seemed to mind, not even Noel! A result as good as a ‘Banker spanking’ really.

Thursday 9th: Neil
Winnings: £2,200
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £4,000 (11-box)
Box value: £250

Neil was a likable young chap, but another tough start left £50,000 and (again) £15,000 isolated as the only big sums left at 8-box. The £50,000 went in the final box of the fifth round, but Neil was still offered a respectable bailout of £2,200, which was enough for him to deal. And the £15,000 went in the first box of the final round, so a good result from a fairly unlucky game.

Friday 10th: Margy-Rose
Winnings: £2,200
Dealt at: 2-box
Highest offer: £6,850 (17-box)
Box value: £5,000

A good opening round, for once, saw a first offer of £6,850, which would prove to be the top of the game. Margy-Rose was unlucky, as she found a big sum in pretty much every round afterwards. At 5-box, £15,000 (again) remained with £5,000, £500 and two other blues. After the two others blues went in the final round, £15,000 gave a sting in the tail, leaving £500 and £5,000. A low enough stakes gamble for most to take, but Margy-Rose decided to deal at £2,200. Alas, the £5,000 was in her box. This was softened somewhat when, in one of his occasional RAOKs (Random Acts of Kindness), the Banker gave Margy-Rose and her husband (an absolute legend) a two week cruise on the Mediterranean.

Sunday 12th: Phil
Winnings: £13,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £13,000 (8-box)
Box value: £250

Another tough start saw three of the Power 5 go, but the 1p and the 10p went as well, so not as bad as some. The subsequent discovery of £75,000 left £100,000 isolated. Phil managed to keep it to 8-box, along with £15,000 and £20,000, which initially saw an offer of £11,500. After a show of hands on who would deal, the Banker, shocked at how many people would gamble, upped the offer to £13,000. This was enough for Phil (and most on the forum) to call it a day. And, pleasingly, it proved the right thing to do, as the £100,000 went in the final box of the next round, and £15,000 and £20,000 went in the final round, leaving an all-blue finish.

So, a pretty average week, then, which is sort of what we needed to restore a sense of normality after Nong’s game.

Don’t forget, University Challenge returns from its Olympic sabbatical tomorrow, so stay tuned for a review of that sometime tomorrow evening.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Deal or No Deal - 30th July - 3rd August

Well, with all the fallout from Nong's game, it's easy to forget that there were five other games this week, all good in their own way, so here we go:

Monday 30th: Liz
Winnings: £22,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £33,000 (2-box)
Box value: 10p

Didn't see much of Monday's show, as I was out for the day. I arrived back during the final break to see Liz faced with a tough board of three blues and five reds. Two blues and a red went in the fifth round, leading to an offer of £22,000. With just £35,000 and £100,000 remaining, Liz very sensibly called it a day. The £100,000 remained undiscovered in the proveout, staying to the end with 10p. The Banker claimed the offer would have been £33,000, which many have described as rubbish. Luckily, though, Liz had the 10p, so a decent result to start the week.

Tuesday 31st: Mike
Winnings: £8,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £10,000 (17-box)
Box value: 50p

After waiting on the wings for 30 shows (the most anyone has waited for a long time), Mike finally came out to play on his 31st show. It started strongly, but then collapsed in the middle stages, leaving £20,000 and £50,000 as the only reds. Mike managed to hold on to them just long enough to get a respectable 5-box bailout of £8,000, which he took, and, pleasingly, the game collapsed in the proveout, giving him a good result.

Wednesday 1st: Craig
Winnings: £250
Opened the box
Highest offer: £10,000 (14-box)
Box value: £250

Well, this was an interesting one. After recovering from a tough start, Craig then went on an unfortunate run, wiping out reds, leaving £20,000 as the only significant sum. He kept it to 5-box though, and the Banker gave him the chance to open one box, and then get another offer. This was repeated at 4-box. Craig got some genuinely good offers throughout the final round, £5,700 at 3-box being good for the board. The £20,000 stayed to 2-box with £250, and the Banker offered £8,000. Arguable either way. Craig decided to go for it, but, alas, 'twas not to be. He certainly have us a tense game though (well, not as tense as Nong's, but you get the idea).

Thursday 2nd: Milli
Winnings: £13,000
Dealt at: 5-box
Highest offer: £13,000 (5-box)
Box value: 10p

A fairly low key game, as one can tell by the surprisingly small amount of post-show comments on the forum. Milli was pleasant enough; she kept calm and collected when things went wrong in the mid stages, and recovered to a 5-box offer of £13,000. With just £100,000 and £50,000 higher, she decided to deal, and was proved right to do so, when both big sums went in the final round, confirming a 'Banker spanking'.

Friday 3rd: John
Winnings: £13,000
Dealt at: 8-box
Highest offer: £13,000 (8-box)
Box value: 10p

It may have been the second consecutive selling of the 10p for £13,000, resulting in a 'Banker spanking', but John's game couldn't have been more different to Milli's. After wiping out three of the Power 5 in the mid round, John remained calm, and two good rounds saw the board swing towards his favour. The Banker initially offered £7,000. John's daughter said it was good, but she knew he'd go for it. This, coupled with some remarks John made earlier, scared the Banker to the extent that he upped the offer to £11,000, and then again to £13,000. After much deliberation, John dealt. The £100,000 went in the fifth round, but the £35,000 remained elusive to 2-box. However, the final offer would've been £10,000, so John remained ahead. And 10p in the box confirmed a 'Banker spanking'. Well played by John, a great game that sent us into Nong's extraordinary game on a high.

Well, true to say, even without Nong's jackpot win, it's been a very good week for the show (almost as good as it has been for Team GB). I'm going away next week, but I'll be back by Sunday, so no change to the usual summary plans.

Deal or No Deal - Nong's Game (05/08/12)

A game so historic, it deserves a post all to itself. And here's why:

Sunday 5th: Nong
Winnings: £250,000!
Opened the box
Highest offer: £68,000 (2-box)
Box value: £250,000

Yep, it's been won a fifth time. But, of the five wins, it was certainly the most dramatic.

Nong was a delightful young lady, who stood out on the wings for her repeated laughter, which caused some to find her annoying. Others, like myself, found it cute, and liked it. I have been informed that Nong reads the forum as well, and will post on it later on when the dust has fully settled.

Anyway, skipping straight to 5-box, which consisted of £5, £250, £5,000, £50,000 and £250,000. The Banker offered her £34,000, a straight doubling of her 8-box offer of £17,000. Nong tearfully rejected the offer.

The final round began with £5,000, which was followed by £50,000. The Banker called up at this point, and offered a 'lifeline' offer of £20,000. He has done this in situations like this before, with mixed responses. Nong very sensibly turned it down.

The £250 left a final two of £5 and the £250,000. The offer was now £68,000, which would be enough for most people to call it a day; you'd either get a huge 'Banker spanking', or you'd miss out on the £250,000, but have a very nice consolation prize. Despite saying the money would mean lots to her and her mother, Nong very tearfully no dealt, which stunned many.

Nong believed the £250,000 was in her box; however, Antonia, who had the other remaining box, had said earlier on that she thought she had a red. However, Nong decided to stick with what she had, and didn't swap.

It was certainly a tense few moments as Noel pulled the seel on her box. And, when he opened it and revealed the £250,000, the studio erupted! Nong and her mother burst into tears as the other players swamped them, and congratulated them.

I'm so happy for Nong that she won the big money, and I hope she and her mother make the most of it. However, I hope witnessing such a big win on such a big gamble doesn't result in the remaining players feeling they have to copy Nong's actions, otherwise we could have some heartbreakers this coming week.

A summary of the weekday games this week will be up very shortly.

Friday, 3 August 2012

University Challenge to return from Olympic break on 13th August

The Radio Times website has confirmed that University Challenge will return from it's two week Olympic break on Monday 13th August, as I speculated last week. Playing in the next match are Wadham College, Oxford, and Bristol University.