• New ‘Mastermind’ quizmaster, Marc Fennell. (SBS)Source: SBS
From banned special subjects to that black chair, this is everything you need to know about the iconic quiz show.
Shane Cubis

22 Apr 2019 - 10:06 AM  UPDATED 22 Feb 2021 - 4:18 PM

If you want to be the most meta contender in the black chair, try picking Mastermind as your special subject and see if new host Marc Fennell and the team can stump you. We’re obviously on your side here, so we’ve done some of the research for you. Godspeed.


What inspired the mood of the original series?

Original producer and former POW Bill Wright dreamt he was being interrogated by the Gestapo.


Name the theme tune and composer

'Approaching Menace' by Neil Richardson.


What were the special subjects of the first-ever final winner?

French literature, European antiques and the history of music 1550-1900 (Nancy Wilkinson, 1972).


Who designed the iconic chair?

Charles and Ray Eames.


How much money do winners take home?



Name the most popularly requested topic in recent years.

Harry Potter.


Which two classic sitcoms were banned as special subjects as of 2018?

Blackadder and Fawlty Towers.



How many years did UK host Magnus Magnusson spend asking questions from behind the desk?

25 (1972-1997).


And what was his catchphrase?

“I’ve started, so I’ll finish…”


What is the highest recorded score?

41 points (UK contestant Kevin Ashman, specialist subject The Life of Martin Luther King).


When did the exclusive Mastermind Club, made up of former contestants, have its first meeting?



Who was the original Australian host?

Huw Evans (on the ABC, 1978-84).


Which channel is Mastermind Australia on?

SBS. (Okay, that one was a gimme.)


Watch Mastermind weeknights at 6pm on SBS Australia. All episodes will be available to stream at SBS On Demand after broadcast.


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