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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Mastermind makes its comeback
Mastermind chair
The famous Mastermind chair has been recreated for the series
Classic TV quiz show Mastermind has returned to the BBC on Monday after a six-year absence.

Hosted by BBC Radio 4's Today programme presenter John Humphrys, it follows a similar format to the original series hosted by Magnus Magnusson.

Four contestants answer questions on their specialist subjects, followed by a general knowledge round.

But the original black leather chair in which contestants sat is missing - it was claimed by Magnusson after the final recording at St. Magnus Cathedral, Orkney in 1997.

Contestants still have to sit in one, however, as a replica has been designed for the new series.

John Humphrys
Humphrys is known for his tough-talking style
Humphrys was chosen because he was an "authoritative inquisitor", according to a BBC spokeswoman.

"His track record on the Today programme made him perfect for the role," she added.

The quiz was devised by producer Bill Wright, who was a former prisoner of war in Germany.

Wright wanted a hard, inquisitive format which gave the impression the contestants were being interrogated.

Mastermind had been revived for cable channel Discovery in 2001 with presenter Clive Anderson but it has not had a regular spot on television since 1997.

A new series was commissioned following the success of a one-off BBC celebrity special of Mastermind, celebrating its 30th anniversary in Christmas 2002.

No cash prize

Humphrys revived the well-known catchphrase used by Magnusson during every show: "I've started so I'll finish."

The original theme tune has also been retained and the winner of the grand final will still receive a crystal glass bowl, engraved with their name and the date of the series.

Unlike many current quiz shows, there will be no cash prize.

Topics chosen by participants for the new series include The Life and Films of Stanley Kubrick, Flora and Fauna of Great Britain, The Who and English castles.

The original series began in 1972 and saw 1,231 contestants in the hot seat before the show was axed in 1997.

Joe West scored the highest specialist knowledge score on Nelson in 1979 with 22 points.

Mastermind returns to BBC Two on Monday at 8pm and the series will take place in a studio in Manchester rather than on location at various venues around the UK.




SEE ALSO:
Take our Mastermind quiz
07 Jul 03  |  Magazine
Mastermind makes BBC return
28 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Teacher wins Mastermind title
09 Jan 02  |  Entertainment
Mastermind on speed
13 Nov 01  |  Entertainment


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