(written in 2021)
There was 477 teams this year, three down from 2010.
Jesus Jones continued his 100% participation in the Derby Dead Pool. Mr and Mrs Drummerboy notched up their 10th campaign.
Notable missing teams from 2010 included Rot in Hell John (the runners up), Tonight Matthew I’m Going to be Badly-Torn Boy (2009 champions), Meet Your Maker (2006/2007 champions), Fallen Sparrow (2005 champions) and Vaagheid. This meant only Drunkasaskunk (1998, 1999), JoeRam (2002), Deathlist (2004), The Living End (2008) and Octopus of Odstock (2010) remained in the DDP as former champions.
Matthew returned briefly in 2016, but Fallen Sparrow and Meet Your Maker have never returned. For now. Maybe one day.
There were 119 debut teams in 2011. Girlfriend in a Coma won rookie of the year by finishing in a creditable 3rd place.
2011 saw 177 hits from Richard Winters (Band of Brothers) and the much missed actor Pete Postlethwaite on January 2nd to George Robb on 25th December. This was another record, as the number of hits record was beaten for the 12th year in a row. (This would continue until 2015.)
“I think in future years we’ll talk about The Living End 2011 in the same way we talk about Brazil 1970 or AC Milan 1994 or the first year of Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen on Big Breakfast.”
Spade Cooley, taking notes for the future, 8 May 2011
The story of the 2011 Derby Dead Pool is the story of The Living End. January saw a few pretenders to the throne briefly lead with jokers on Gerry Rafferty, Tom Lubbock and England legend Nat Lofthouse. However, when John Higgins Sr died on 3rd February, The Living End took a lead they never vacated. It was the earliest the champion has taken the lead in a year, a record which still stands. Half their team had died by the end of May. By mid-June, The Living End had a 47 point lead at the top of the pile. A quieter end second half of the year reduced the deficit of everyone else to a mere 31 points.
It was, to be blunt, complete and utter domination.
BEST NAME – Hippoposthumous. I’m still sad they retired.
FIRST OFF THE MARK – Old Ma G with their brilliant punt (or under the radar knowledge) on Pete Postlethwaite. He was only in Inception a few weeks earlier.
JAMMY SODS – Smokin’ Joe Frazier seemed a longshot on January 1st. A sudden cancer downturn saw hundreds of DDP players curisng and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here taking unexpected unique points to the bank.
LETS START ALL OVER – Future DDP co-hosts Pan Breed sent their first Derby Dead Pool team to the wrong email, and thus sat out 2011. I can confirm that they would have been gubbed by The Living End, but sadly scored with Doctor Who legend Nicholas Courtney, the type of pick you’d expect to be in the Drop 40 nowadays.
WHATS A CELEBRITY? – This Mortal Coil picked a terminally ill mum who died in April. This sort of thing grow at a pace throughout the 2010s until the overdue ban was put in place in 2021.
BEST JOKER – Dr McPherson being the sort of esoteric joker you expected from The Living End in those days, with suitable end results.
AMBULANCE CHASER AWARD – 27 teams dived upon cult music legend Gerry Rafferty upon late 2011 news he was on life support. Rafferty found what was written on his heart was failure on January 4th.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER – Despite efforts by Thatcher, Gabor and Michael Douglas (who had a now forgotten Stage IV cancer fright at the time), the biggest pick in 2011 to actually die was Kim Jong-il. Who was picked by 98 teams and died on a train, much to the surprise of the watching world. His death was announced the same day as the widely respected Vaclav Havel, so clearly the universal karma needed to reset or something.
LEAST MISSED – Despite Kim jong-il’s demise, this was a no contender, surely. Osama Bin Laden’s death brought few tears from DDP regulars. Jimmy Saville falls under this category too, however his crimes only became full public knowledge in 2012. And for a hattrick, did anyone mourn serial killer Donald Neilson’s slow demise from ALS?
HERO OF THE YEAR – Peter Falk played one on TV, catching murders for 40 years on Columbo before suffering from Peter Falk’s Disease in later life. Betty Ford was acclaimed for her actions in real life, encouraging millions of people to seek treatment for their alcohol issues and saving lives. Just one more thing? OK, then. Cricketer Basil D’Oliveira standing up to the apartheid rule in South Africa helped turn international opinion against it.
The Man in Black wrote analysis for his other years in charge, so this fills in a gap in the wall.