Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Evening With The Brains

How nice – another London experience in the bag. This evening, I attended a live recording of the BBC Radio 4 general knowledge quiz show, Brain of Britain, at their Maida Vale studios. I’d thought I’d try my luck and sign up for a ticket entitling me to be part of the studio audience. And though I had a good time this evening, I felt as though I had stepped back twenty years.

For Brain of Britain will always remind me of my childhood. I first heard it on the BBC World Service when I was growing up, and have continued to tune in over the years. It’s been chaired for eons chaired by the venerable Robert Robinson, who stepped aside this year because of health problems. In his place this season was another British institution, the veteran journalist Peter Snow, who seemed rather absent-minded, even given the straightforward format of the show. I bet the producer wished he had picked someone else instead.

The studios, too, must have been constructed decades ago, reminding me somewhat of the Caldecott Hill broadcasting centre in Singapore, which I’m familiar with. There was a 1980s atmosphere all round – hard to describe – but definitely present, even in the loos. And what about the audience and contestants? Well, let’s just say that it was a joy to be able to step into some place nowadays, and find myself lowering the average age, not raising it.

But I’m not here to be mean. I rather enjoyed myself, and wished at times that I could have been up there as one of the contestants. There were quite a few questions I could answer, though I need to brush up on my Greek mythology and my Bible knowledge. Several questions came from these fields. But at least I now know things like what a hydra monster is exactly, that Cassiopoeia is the mother of Andromeda, that the Epistle of Jude is the shortest book in the New Testaments, and that Patmos is the place where St John the Divine composed the Book of Revelations. Useful stuff eh?


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