A long-running series in which members of the public sit in a black chair to answer questions on a specialist subject and general knowledge.

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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
John Humphrys ...  Himself - Host / ... 227 episodes, 2003-2018
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Storyline

A long-running series in which members of the public sit in a black chair to answer questions on a specialist subject and general knowledge.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Game-Show

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Details

Official Sites:

BBC [UK]

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Release Date:

11 September 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Celebrity Mastermind  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the show's 1996 editions were screened back-to-back with a very different show Small Talk (1996). For this, the BBC produced a well-know trailer referencing both shows. Magnus's voice would be heard saying, "May I have our first contender, please?" and a little boy would appear and announce, "My name's Jamie, I'm six years old and I'm a genius". Magnus would then ask, "Occupation?" and a little girl would say, "I can do a magic trick - watch!" (This 'trick' was putting a pencil on her top lip as a moustache - and the pencil duly fell off, surprise, surprise!) Finally, Magnus would ask, "And your chosen specialised subject?" and a rather serious little boy would say, "Er - I'm not sure about that question" See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Magnus Magnusson: I've started so I'll finish.
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Connections

Referenced in Fawlty Towers: Basil the Rat (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Approaching Menace
Written by Neil Richardson
[Theme]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

I started writing this -- so i'll finish!
16 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

Mastermind certainly has a cult following but to be honest it was not every bodies cup of tea. It was dull and slow and broadcast on a dull Sunday night too. What made it worse and a frustrating show to watch was that 95 % of the questions asked were just beyond the average person. It was understandable for the specialized topics i.e. " Chinese art between 1435- 1702" or "Greek mythology between 800 and 600 BC but general knowledge – come on i.e. " what is a how many brothers and sisters did the queen of Sheeba have? That's not really general knowledge!

Yes it was original with its quirky setting with the big chair, the dimming of the lights and the ugly sounding buzzer when a contestant ran out of time. Also, it had it's clichés " now I've started" etc and "pass" The secret to mastermind from a contestants point of view was to call "pass" on a question if you had any doubts about the answer. You could them move onto a new question. If you were wrong you would be given the long-winded answer from Magnus and thus use up valuable time.

To what I recall nothing really stood out on the show apart from the fact that occasionally a taxi driver and train driver won the series of mastermind at some time during it's run. Or that from time to time some poor contestant fell apart under the pressure of the situation and embarrassingly made a fool of themselves. You would certainly feel for them when they flopped in front of millions of viewers; very similar to an actor on stage fluffing his lines at the theater.

In fact the most memorable thing I remember in it's heyday was not actually on the show but a mickey take on the a Morcame and Wise show poking fun at Mastermind. It had the same dark setting with Magnus Magnuson asking the questions (good sport that he was!) to a confident looking Eric Morcame where every answer to the Question was "pass" much to the bemusement of an irate Ernie wise.

I.e. on the game of monopoly to collect $200 you have to ----- through go?

Eh "pass" ---- correct!

What is it called when one footballer kicks the ball to another teammate? "Pass" ---- correct

The very famous crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan is called the Kyber? "Pass" ----- correct

You get the picture. Magnus Magnison was very likable and dignified and compared to the garbage on TV now at least mastermind did have some decorum and class.


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