Sunday, 20 January 2013

The question Round Britain Quiz (possibly) dared not use ...

 ... or, as is equally likely, I didn't send it in - can't remember now. Or maybe it just wasn't good enough. You'll have to ask Paul Bajoria.

Look, let's not keep going on about it. The point is I found an old attempt at a Round Britain Quiz question and decided to share it with the nation - or that small but significant proportion of same whose eyes habitually slide over these musings.

If you are reading this in America, then all you need to know is that Round Britain Quiz is a longrunning programme on BBC Radio 4 where each week two teams from different regions strive to answer questions which require the making of unlikely and unexpected connections between a varied series of high and low cultural references. When, as is often the case when faced with anything relating to popular music, a team fails, the listener then has the chance to feel all smug and superior - until, that is, another strand in the same question exposes the limitations of that hypothetical listener's supposedly mature and eclectic sensibility.

Anyway, as I say, let's not go on about it. Please. And let's not even so much as mention that singularly annoying regular competitor who, having been firmly informed by quizmaster Tom Sutcliffe that no, it's not a film (or whatever) will immediately volunteer the name of a film (or whatever), as though there might have been some error, or as though he or she alone has been vouchsafed the information that the mere act of further utterance automatically secures points.

But let's not sink down into a morass of bitterness and accusation; it's a quiz designed to captivate and entertain, which it does. Excepting Mrs Pentherby, as it were. Besides, I can get all that by returning to the subject of Barry Manilow. So here is the Round Britain Quiz-type question - which now seems ridiculously easy to me, now that I look over it. Answers in comments below ... if you dare.

Babs's two Brices; a feverish singer (not Peggy Lee) and George's post-swim humiliation; Bowie's clownish PA; Mr Derek's (or Mr Roy's) narrative-interrupting companion in fugitive mode.

 What's the link with the detective formerly known as Sam?


  1. Hi Pismo,

    Brice - is that some kind of euphemism? I've read it means speckled, so the speckled band, a la Holmes? Two bands? Pan's People and Legs and Co?

    Feverish singer? Johnny Ray - always on the verge of tears? Cry? (Peter) Pan's cry: "I'm youth, I'm joy, I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg."

    George's post-swim humiliation must be related to that - is he some cartoon character?

    Bowie's clownish PA - his private attorney? Tony Day, whose word was gospel?

    Derek Roy was a 50s comedian who had a series Hip Hip Hoo Roy, so is the overall connection to do with parts of the body? Legs? Hip? Tear ducts (Johnny Ray)? Egg/ovaries?

    Not sure where Tony Day comes into it, but "tony" can mean "fashionable" so maybe these are all body parts which have been fashioned - out of balsa wood, perhaps.

    But I don't know who George is, unless it's Curious George, who was taken to hospital to have an unnecesary part - a swallowed jigsaw piece removed. So it's all about body parts, actual and inserted. Phew! Got there in the end! Is there a prize for this?

    But the link with the detective formerly known as Sam ... that just doesn't make sense.

    George N.

  2. 'Life on Mars'....Brian O'Connell

  3. Hmm ... I'm going to let this run for a bit longer - it's obviously not as easy as I thought it would be. Maybe some additional clues, or some hints a la Round Britain Quiz, are necessary, though it will reduce your notional points.

    "Formerly known as Sam" - not necessarily in the same series.
    "Brice" may mean speckled but it is also a surname.
    If it isn't Peggy Lee who is feverish, who provided the blueprint for her?
    This George may not be a cartoon character but he is closely associated with a prime example of another TV genre.
    I am not going to debase this quiz question with any further Bowie clue. It couldn't be more obvious. Ditto the reference to "Mr Derek" and "Mr Roy." Get it together is my earnest entreaty.

  4. The only Brice I can think of is the comedienne Fanny Brice - one for the teenagers, as Roy Hudd would say.

    Feverish singer has to be Tom Jones, who sang Chills and Fever. Don't get the blueprint thing, though, as surely Peggy Lee was earlier. But that's the kind of thing you would know, surely.

    Is that George as in Mice and Men? All I know is Kazenatz Kaz's Singing Orchestral Circus recorded Quick Joey Small, and in Mice and Men the big guy is Lennie Small and his companion (played by Burgess Meredith, later the Penguin in the kitsch 60s TV Batman show) was George. But what was his humiliation?

    Bowie PA - did he have a PA system with a brand name like Bozo or something? Or is it to do with Tony DeFries?

    Mr Derek is the character played by Ricky Gervais - is Mr Roy another character in the series?

    But I don't see how all these things go together, you sure you've thought this out properly?

    Ah. Got it. The most famous detective formerly known as Sam has to be Sam Spade, so is it something about digging or things in the earth? Tom Jones is laid in the ground at the end of Green Green Grass of Home, Fanny Brice is long dead so ditto, Lennie Small, George's friend, is killed at the end of Mice and Men, Bowie sang Ashes to Ashes and Please Mr Gravedigger, maybe the second one is more aposite here?

    I don't know, it feels as though I'm forcing the connections a bit here, but I'm sure I'm not that far off. When will the answer be up, as I have a 50p bet with my pal?

    Edwin Ardell

  5. Er, when I said get it together I meant Get It Together. Think Freddie Cannon if you're searching for a catchphrase. The TV genre I was thinking of was sitcom. "The detective formerly known as" - when I said not necessarily in the same series I could have added not necessarily with the same accent either. And nothing to do with Bogart. Think closer to home, especially the North. Dear me, this is getting exhausting.

  6. 'Babs' Streisand (Fanny Brice) Funny Girl twice
    Little Willie John (Fever)
    Big Brother House (George Galloway?)
    Basil Brush 'Boom Boom'(Fox on the run)
    Sam Tyler Character in'Life on Mars' and 'Ashes to ashes'

    Brian O'Connell

  7. Very good! Though not a full six points.

    Funny Girl and Funny Lady (the sequel) gives us Funny Funny.

    Fever gives us Little Willie John, as you say. Though the "George" I was thinking of was George Costanza, Jerry Seinfeld's hapless buddy, who in one infamous episode was glimpsed changing out of his swimming trunks on a cold day and experienced the phenomenon of "shrinkage."

    Bowie's "clownish PA" - and really, this wasn't rocket science - is Corrine "Coco" Schwab.

    Yes, you got to Basil Brush and the correct title. And for the benefit of others, "Mr Derek" is Derek Fowlds and "Mr Roy" is Roy North. Both actors have been straight men to Vulpine Terry Thomas-style puppet Basil Brush, who - in the dear departed days when Basil wasn't trapped in some American style sitcom but sat at the centre of his own teatime variety show - made it his weekly mission to sabotage his companion's attempts read a story to the youthful audience at the end of the programme. And if Basil was "in fugitive mode" he'd be "on the run."

    But that's not the Sam I was thinking of, and although Bowie is mentioned in one part of the question he isn't the thing which links all the answers.

    The detective was a grizzled Glaswegian, if that helps. I shall provide the rest of the answer tomorrow!

  8. Oh, what the hell ... it's Taggart, and actor Mark McManus used to play a Yorkshire character called Sam (also the name of the series) in the 70s. There is a kind of urban myth that Mark McManus was the half brother of the Sweet's Brian Connelly; there is a connection but according to wikipedia it's more distant than that: "Actually, Connolly's foster father Jim McManus was Mark McManus' uncle."

    Anyway, that connection, however tenuous, is what links all the strands, as every other answer is the name of a Sweet hit. Only three out of six, I'm afraid, for Brian O'Connell, but that's rather better than George N's zero (sorry about that), and I think it's fair to say that Edwin Ardell has lost his bet. Still, you all enjoyed yourselves (I've decided), and that's the main thing.

    I do have some other RBQ question somewhere, which I actually sent to Paul Bajoria. I'll see if I can find them. Ta ta for now!

    Tony aka Pismotality