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BBC Mastermind Comes to Oxford

first_imgThe BBC last week hosted Oxford auditions for Mastermind. Tens of quiz contestant hopefuls pitted themselves against one another at the Randolph Hotel, hoping ultimately to face John Humphrys in the famous black chair. The BBC is looking for 96 people from around the country take part in the show famous for the catchphrase “I’ve started, so I’ll finish…” Benjamin Skipp, a Christ Church seventh-year studying music, chose for his specialist subjects Clarissa Dixon Wright, the TV presenter and author, and Walter Hussey, dean of Chichester Cathedral from 1955 to 1977. He explained the challenges each contender faced at the auditions. “The audition just involved two researchers from the BBC asking me 20 general knowledge questions and then an informal chat about various topics which could be my specialist subject…They said they’d let me know in about three weeks if I had been successful.”BBC researcher and panel-judge Mr Farnell said that there had been many knowledgeable contestants at the auditions. He told the Oxford Times, “We’ve had people booked in for auditions and people walking in off the street.” He admitted that the 20 questions were “a tough set. But we need to know people’s general knowledge is good because we can’t have people struggling on TV.”More than 30 hopefuls attended the auditions at the hotel on Beaumont Street last Wednesday hoping to emulate 2006 Mastermind winner Geoff Thomas. Each candidate was given a general knowledge test consisting of 20 questions, before discussing potential specialist subjects with a panel featuring BBC researchers Michael Farnell and Fiona Hamilton.Contestants were told to turn up with at least two specialist subjects, although contenders were told that they might need up to four topics if they managed to work their way through all stages of the competition. The more interesting the special subject, the better their chances of progressing to the next round, the contestants were informed. Subjects duly ranged from the missionary journeys of St Paul through to Klaus Fuchs, a German spy convicted of giving information to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The results of the auditions are to be announced in the coming weeks. The show is due to be aired on BBC Two from September.by Rob Pomfretlast_img read more