Having appeared on several quiz shows, I know how memory starts to melt under the studio lights. Small Boo delights in reminding me that it was the Jackson 5 who sang on Stevie Wonder's 'You Haven't Done Nothing', and that sharks are cartilaginous (two facts that succumbed to on-air Footman brainfarts).
So I was inclined to be sympathetic to Simon Curtis when I read that he'd scored a record one point in his specialist round on Mastermind. I'll admit to an involuntary sniff of derision when I saw that he'd chosen The Films Of Jim Carrey as his subject, but what the hell, knowledge is knowledge, yeah? At least he's not like one of those pneumatic C-listers who choose subjects like Those Shoes That Courtney Cox Was Wearing In That Episode Of Friends That Was On Last Night, Or Was It The Night Before? And Carrey's actually made about three decent films, which is pretty good going for a mainstream Hollywood star. And then I read Mr Curtis's explanation for what went wrong:
"I like Jim Carrey films but I think the mistake I made was not watching them again. John Humphrys ended up asking me about things in the movies rather than simply black-and-white facts so I was stumped."
So... the problem was... let me get my head round this... the problem was that you decided to answer questions about The Films Of Jim Carrey, but didn't bother to watch any of The Films Of Jim Carrey, so when Humphrys asked you about The Films Of Jim Carrey, it all went horribly wrong. And what are these "things in the movie" (presumably plot details, lines of dialogue, character names and so on) if they're not "black-and-white facts"? It's a quiz show, not a forum for postmodernist japery.
What's disturbing is that Curtis managed to make it to the semi-final. He won the first round thanks to his knowledge of The Jam, a feat that, presumably, he managed without listening to any of the records. He just read a couple of old Smash Hits interviews and looked at a picture of Bruce Foxton for a few minutes.
Also... Small Boo once said of me: "He can write about anything except golf." HA!