‘That’s Life’ as Jim loses final

Lurgan's Jim Maginnis who lost the Grand Final of Mastermind on a tie break
Lurgan's Jim Maginnis who lost the Grand Final of Mastermind on a tie break

There was heartache for Lurgan man Jim Maginnis as he narrowly failed to become the 2016 Mastermind champion on Friday night when he was pipped at the post during the nail-biting tie-break round.

The final was not without its drama as John Humphrys incorrectly read Jim’s fifth General Knowledge question therefore throwing him off course in the first sentence.

The Mastermind presenter asked “Which singer who died in 1988 has the words ‘The best has yet to come’, the title of the last song he publicly performed, etched on his tombstone?” Giving the incorrect date ruled out Frank Sinatra straight away for Jim as Sinatra died in 1998 and with the contest ended in a tie, if the factually correct question had been asked, Jim may have won.

As Mr Humprey’s slip up was not picked up Jim went into a tie break with Alan Heath. There have been very few tie-breaks in this testing quiz. In 2004 a tie between Shaun Wallace and Don Young was decided on passes in Shaun’s favour. Then last year, in 2015, a tie between Marianne Fairthorne and David Greenwood was decided on passes. However, this year, neither Alan nor Jim incurred any passes.

With just five questions to decide the Grand Final, Alan went first getting two right. Unfortunately for Jim he failed to answer his five questions correctly and Alan took the coveted title after what was a gripping final.

However, as always, the RAF Squadron Leader at Aldergrove was dignified in defeat. “It really was a tense evening, but Alan was a worthy winner,” said Jim.

“I must add one point about something that wasn’t shown in the Grand Final that was eventually transmitted on Friday, the tie break broadcast was actually the second one, the first ended 3-3.”

“I’m sure that the Final made for great TV, although it was difficult to watch from behind the Maginnis family sofa!,” he added.

“With regard to the ‘Sinatra situation’ the producer rang me on Saturday to explain what had happened and how it was unprecedented that the slip had not been picked up by anyone during recording, post-production or pre-broadcast, and we agreed that there really was nothing that could be done so long after the event. To be honest, I’m actually quite sanguine about the whole thing, and, in the words of another standard from the ‘disputed’ Francis Albert Sinatra -’That’s Life’!”