Cheers for that Damian. Was all speculation really, and I'm guessing that you rightfully realised that I wasn't trying to offend your producer's sensibilities, as your response unusually contained absolutely no abuse at allD Eadie wrote:The same methods of [...] beating the best.
I pretty much agree with everything you said, I was just concerned that one audition is not as good an indicator as months and months of apterous evidence. I'd happily put everything I own on any of the aforementioned three from Series 61 becoming octochamps because I know their apterous records, but I'd probably be hesitant to do so on the basis of seeing them at one audition. But then, needless to say, I'm very aware that you'd be miles better at quickly spotting a good player than I would be, presumably better in fact than anyone else here, and I'm certainly willing to be satisfied by your confidence.
I'm definitely largely in the dark when it comes to contestants from back in time - despite having watched on and off for possibly over 15 years, I rarely took notice of the players involved; they were mere contestants rather than people. Yes, I'd follow runs and keep track of current champions, but they'd be forgotten by the following week. Charlie and Junaid changed all of that for me, and before I knew it I found myself on the forum. I wonder though whether you would consider including any of the aforementioned Carson/Hulme/Davies trilogy to be of the quality to join that list of players you mentioned? (rhetorical I guess, as you can't reveal even the inevitable spoilers!) IF you did see two or three of them as fit to join your own all-time favourites list, that still says something in that we're just talking about one series' worth of contestants (and maybe there's even more treasures to follow in Series 61 beyond these three). As you point out, apterous IS only a year old, and it won't be a few more years before we really see the difference it makes, if any, to the show.
Your points about personality were also interesting - despite being happily vocal at times about which contestants have and haven't made good telly, I'd never considered before that it could be even more beneficial to the show to help along more personable players than it is to help along quality players. Obviously you've done pretty well to find a balance. Also, it may have got lost in translation but the 'easiness' of the "easy path" to which I referred was just using the same words that you'd used yourself. I'm more than aware that a cursory glance at my apterous record makes it fucking laughable for me to call anything Countdown-related 'easy', it's a word of relative measure of course.