World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mastermind (TV series)

Also known as Supermind
Mastermind Cup Final/Sport
Mastermind International
Mastermind Champions/Champion of Champions
Junior Mastermind
Genre Quiz show
Created by Bill Wright
Presented by Magnus Magnusson (1972–97)
John Motson (Cup Final Mastermind: 1978)
Frank Bough (Cup Final Mastermind: 1979)
Des Lynam (Cup Final Mastermind: 1980, Sport Mastermind: 2008)
Huw Evans (Mastermind International: 1981)
Peter Sinclair (Mastermind International: 1982)
Peter Snow (1998–2000)
Clive Anderson (2001–2)
John Humphrys (2003–)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 40 (Regular)
3 (Supermind)
4 (Cup Final/Sport)
5 (International)
2 (Champions/Champion of Champions)
5 (Junior)
No. of episodes ??? (Regular)
3 (Supermind)
13 (Cup Final/Sport)
5 (International)
8 (Champions/Champion of Champions)
29 (Junior)
Running time 30 minutes(Regular episodes)
60 minutes(The finals)
Original channel BBC1 (1972–97)
BBC Radio 4 (1998–2000)
Discovery Channel (2001–2)
BBC Two (2003–)
Picture format 4:3 (1972–97, 2001–2)
16:9 (2003–)
Original release 11 September 1972 (1972-09-11) – present
Related shows Celebrity Mastermind
Disney Q Family Mastermind
External links

Mastermind is a British quiz show, well known for its challenging questions, intimidating setting and air of seriousness.

Devised by Bill Wright, the basic format of Mastermind has never changed—four and in later contests five or six contestants face two rounds, one on a specialised subject of the contestant's choice, the other a general knowledge round. Wright drew inspiration from his experiences of being interrogated by the Gestapo during World War II.

The atmosphere is helped by Mastermind's famously ominous theme music, "Approaching Menace" by the British composer Neil Richardson. The quiz programme originated and was recorded in Manchester at studios such as New Broadcasting House and Granada Studios, before permanently moving to MediaCityUK in 2011.


For the first round, the questioner invites the first contestant to begin. He or she walks over to a black chair and sits down. The contestant is then given a set period of time, usually two minutes (one minute and a half in semi-finals, similarly hereinafter), to answer questions on a specialised subject which he or she has chosen (see examples below). The questioner announces the start of the time period, and then reads out a question. If the contestant gives the correct answer, he or she scores one point, and the questioner then reads out the next question. The contestant may pass (by simply saying "pass") if he or she doesn't know the answer, or prefers not to spend time trying to remember the answer: the questioner does not begin to read the next question until the contestant has given an answer or said "pass". If a question is answered incorrectly, the questioner will give the correct answer before reading out the next question; this uses some of the contestant's remaining time. However, if the contestant passes, the questioner moves straight on to the next question: the answer is not read out until the end of the round.

After the two minutes are up a buzzer is sounded, which is made up of four beeps. If, when the buzzer sounds, the questioner has already started to read out a question, but has not finished doing so, he or she reads out the rest of the question, and the contestant is then given a short period of time to answer. This convention leads to the show's famous catchphrase, "I've started so I'll finish." If a question has been read out in full when the buzzer sounds, but the contestant has not yet given an answer, the questioner allows a short period of time for an answer to be given. After this, the contestant is told how many points he or she has scored, and answers to any passes are given. The next contestant then takes his or her place in the black chair, and the procedure is repeated. This continues until every contestant has had one turn.

After the contestants have answered the specialised questions, they are given general knowledge questions. The procedure is very similar to that used in the first round, except that the contestants usually have two and a half minutes(two minutes in the semis) each, rather than two. As originally aired, the contestants would return for the second round in the same order as for their specialised subject. The contestants are now recalled in reverse order of number of points scored in the first round.

The winner is the contestant with the most points. If two or more contestants have an identical number of points, then the contestant with the fewer (or fewest) passes is the winner. The possibility of passing leads to tactical play as passing uses less time allowing more questions to be answered; but may count against the contestant at the end in the event of a tie.

Should the top two contestants have the same score and same number of passes at the end of the contest then a tie-breaker is employed, in which the two contenders are each asked the same five questions (one contender must leave the auditorium while the other answers). It is not clear what would happen should this fail to produce a clear winner, though it is implied that the process would

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.