Mastermind on SBS
Marc Fennell (image - SBS)

Mastermind on SBS celebrates 500 episodes

Mastermind on SBS – The AFL’s Collingwood, the game of Mahjong, Daniel Ricciardo and the music of Smokey Robinson will be in the spotlight as iconic quiz show Mastermind celebrates its 500th episode on SBS on Thursday, July 4th.

The four contestants stepping up to be grilled by host Marc Fennell on their general knowledge and specialist subjects are Katrina Pattison, Eric Wan, Callum Baggott and Zoey Cash.

The series, produced by BBC Studios Productions Australia, is now in its sixth season and first aired on SBS in 2019.  Since then:
  • more than 1000 contestants have taken their seat in the infamous black chair to compete against the clock
  • the eclectic mix of specialist subjects has included The Human Brain, First Nations Footballers, The works of Jim Henson, The Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes Saga, Doctor Who, Hamilton the Musical and The Career of Gina Riley
  • Quiz writers have produced a mammoth 34,000 questions on contestants chosen subjects, and over 37,000 general knowledge questions with two previous series winners joining the question writing team. 

Mastermind was first shown in the UK in 1972, gaining a reputation as the toughest quiz show on television and birthing the catchphrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.  The Australian show stayed true to the original format but has also introduced a Slow Burn round for the weekly finals where contestants must guess an answer on the basis of ten clues.  The less clues they need, the more points they earn, but they can only guess once.  

Marc Fennell took over quizmaster duties from Jennifer Byrne, who hosted the first two series, and took a turn in the chair himself when he competed in one of two Celebrity Mastermind series with chosen subject Star Trek.

Celebrity Mastermind contestants included:
  • Mark Humphries, who won the first series with specialist subject The Musicals of Stephen Sondheim, and Phil Burton took out the second with Queen.
  • Other celebrities were quizzed on Dolly Parton (Myf Warhurst), The Nanny (Courtney Act), The History of LSD (Ben Lee), Asian Cuisine (Adam Liaw), History of Australian Surfing (Shane Gould) Cats (Jessica Rowe) and Harry Potter (Joel Creasy).
Kylie Washington, General Manager BBC Studios Productions Australia, said: 

Mastermind is the little show that could, bringing audiences back week after week. The specialist subjects are a window into the Australian psyche and we love to celebrate the individuality of our contenders as we get to know why this is their chosen – and often very niche – subject.” 

Emily Griggs, SBS Head of Entertainment and Food, said

“What an incredible milestone – 500 episodes! This is a remarkable achievement for any show and a true testament to the quality and appeal of Mastermind. Australia is the only territory in the world to have Mastermind episodes Monday to Friday, highlighting SBS’s commitment to delivering programs that both educate and entertain. Mastermind has become a favourite among viewers, captivating quiz enthusiasts and general audiences alike with its challenging questions and engaging format.”

Previous series winners and their specialist subjects for the finals are:
  • Troy Eggleston (Melbourne Cup Winners),
  • Jacqui Markham (The Princess Bride),
  • William Laing (The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis),
  • Stirling Coates (The Incredibles
  • Miles Glaspole (AFL Grand Finals)

Mastermind on SBS and SBS on Demand – 500th Episode – Thursday 4 July, 2024.

TV Central SBS content HERE

Mastermind on SBS
Mastermind on SBS

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