Magnus Magnusson (1972–1997)
Peter Snow (1998–2000)
Clive Anderson (2001–2002)
John Humphrys (2003–Present)

Mastermind2000s (A)
Mastermind2000s (B)
BBC1: 11 September 1972 – 1 September 1997
BBC Radio 4: 6 April 1998 – 31 July 2000
Discovery Channel UK: 14 November 2001 – 16 January 2002
BBC Two: 7 July 2003 – Present

Mastermind is one of the longest running quiz shows in the world.


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 and finals), to answer questions on a specialised subject which he or she has chosen. 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 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. Starting from the 2016-2017 series, home viewers can realise that the round is coming to a close when the frame of the score starts to turn blue when there's 10 seconds remaining on the clock. 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 each, rather than two (but two minutes in the semi-finals). 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 or more 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 contenders are each asked the same five questions (one contender answers questions, while the others must leave the studio so that they may not able to hear). It is not clear what would happen should this fail to produce a clear winner, though it is implied that the process would simply be repeated as many times as necessary (and probably unsuccessful tie-breakers would be edited out of the programme, to save time). It is, however, very rare for the tie-break to be required. In the version of the show hosted by John Humphrys (2003 to present), it has appeared only five times in the main series and once in the Junior Mastermind spin-off, the latter being in the final broadcast on 26 February 2006. In 2016, the grand final went to a tie break for the first time in the show's history, and also for the first time in the following series, there was a three-way tie finish.

The winner goes through to the next round, where he or she must choose a different specialised subject. The winner of the final of the BBC version is declared "Mastermind" for that year and is the only contestant to receive a prize, in the form of a cut-glass engraved bowl. During the era of Magnus Magnusson's presentation the trophy was specially manufactured by Caithness Glass. A special guest would always be invited to present the trophy to the winner, with the exception of the final edition in 1997, where host Magnus Magnusson presented the trophy to the new winner.

YouTube LinksEdit

Full EpisodesEdit

Magnusson EraEdit

1980 Grand Final
1981 Grand Final
First Semi-Final of 1991
1992 Grand Final
Second Heat of 1993
1997 Grand Final (The final BBC1 episode)

Humphrys EraEdit

First Heat of 2007/2008
A Random Episode from 2009

A Random Semi-Final from 2012
A Random Episode from 2013
First Heat of 2014/2015
Complete 2015/2016 Series

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