Mail Mastermind misses out name

Mail Mastermind

Jonathan Gibson has rightly been praised for his stunning performance in last Monday’s Mastermind final, in which he easily defeated five other competitors to win the trophy. Aged 24, he became the youngest person ever to win the competition. He has boyish charm by the bucket load, and the fact that he is now a student at St Andrews adds to his status in my eyes.

There is, however, a curious omission in the Mail’s report of Gibson’s ascent to the black leather throne: his name. Six hundred words of text, but it’s all about the retirement of the “ferocious” question master, whose style, we are told, is based on that of a wartime Nazi interrogator.

Gibson is referred to in the text, but only as a “student from Glasgow”, while the writer waxes lyrical about the ferocity of John Humphrys whose quizzing style I have always found rather irritating. Numerous references to “I know, it’s the black chair” and a tendency to put on silly voices and accents can be extremely patronising. Not to mention the interminable length of the questions (in the final, a maximum of eleven asked in two minutes!), although this is probably the producers’ fault rather than his.

It’s probably a good thing that Humphrys is moving on. I’m already looking forward to the autumn, and the return of BBC2’s Quizzy Mondays.


Up one day, down the next

Over the Easter weekend, there was much trumpeting by the HSE over how well it had done with its vaccination programme on Good Friday.

Paul Reid Twitter

Tweet from HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid

This was echoed by the politicians:

Donnelly Twitter

Tweet from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

However the figures for the rest of the Easter weekend (Saturday 8,446/Sunday 3,763) were actually lower than the previous weekend (Saturday 15,933/Sunday 4,039), and the figure for Monday 5 April, 4,796, was the lowest Monday figure for three weeks, since Monday 15 March (3,530). This figure was likely to have been affected by the public holiday coming up on St Patrick’s Day, so you have to go back as far as 8 February to get a lower Monday figure (2,686):

Monday 29 March
Total: 819,676 (+ 13,135 in last 24 hours)

Monday 22 March
Total: 690,449 (+ 10,434 in last 24 hours)

Monday 15 March
Total: 620,580 (+ 3,530 in last 24 hours)

Monday 8 March
Total: 536,617 (+ 10,849 in last 24 hours)

Monday 1 March
Total: 446,474 (+ 6,692 in last 24 hours)

Monday 22 February
Total: 359,616 (+ 5,645 in last 24 hours)

Monday 15 February
Total: 280,581 (+ 8,639 in last 24 hours)

Monday 8 February
Total: 243,353 (+ 2,686 in last 24 hours)

Today we’ve have had another congratulatory tweet from Paul Reid, saying that we’ve now had reached the million vaccination mark. If this is so, the HSE must have done more than 76,000 in the last two days. That will be a record, but it is going to have to achieve those sort of figures daily if we are really going to get to the much-mentioned target of three million jabs by the end of June. We will see how it goes.

Some figures here from the excellent Shane Hastings website