Mastermind Champions

The Winners of the coveted Caithness Glass Bowl

and the title MASTERMIND Champion

The Magnus Magnusson Years 1972 to 1997


Nancy Wilkinson

During World War II, Nancy worked for the intelligence service at Bletchley Park.

After Mastermid she served for 17 years on the General Synod of the Church of England.

In the 1972 Mastermind series her specialised subjects were:
French literature,
European antiques,
and the history of music 1550–1900.

In 1975 she went on to win a Supermind contest between the first four Mastermind Champions.


Patricia Owen

Australian educated, Patricia reached the final by winning the fourth semi-final for the highest scoring losers.

Her win in the final was a decisive one and even more meritorious was that her semi-final and final were recorded on the same night.

Her 1973 specialist subjects were:
Grand Opera
Byzantine Art
Grand Opera again


Elizabeth Horrocks

A teacher and author, Elizabeth was modest about her win, claiming that "the others threw it away".

Her 1974 specialist subjects were:
Shakespeare's plays,
The Works of J R R Tolkien
and The Works of Dorothy L Sayers


John Hart

John, a Classics Master at Malvern School was the first man to win Mastermind.

His 1975 Specialised subjects were:
Athens 500-400BC,
Rome 100-1 BC,
Athens 500-400BC again


Roger Pritchard

A civil servant in the Department of the Environment,
Roger had won the Brain of Britain title in 1974. He described his Mastermind win as "a magnificent inconsequentiality"

His 1976 Specialised subjects were:
Arthur Wellesley The 1st Duke of Wellington,
20th. Century British Warships
The Duke of Wellington again.


Sir David Hunt

Sir David Hunt was a retired ambassador who had served as private secretary to both Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.

A second repechage champion, he also won the Champion of Champions tourney for the first 10 Mastermind winners in 1982.

His 1977 Specialised subjects were:
World War II British Campaigns in North Africa,
World War II Allied campaign in Italy
and the Roman Revolution 60-14 BC


Rosemary James

A 3rd repechage champion, Rosemary was a Latin and Classical studies teacher at Mount School in York.

Her 1978 Specialist subjects were:
Roman & Greek mythology,
Works of Frederick Wolfe,
Roman & Greek Mythology again


Philip Jenkins

At 27 Dr. Philip Jenkins became the youngest Mastermind champion at the time. And is now a professor of history at Baylor University in the United States.

His 1979 Specialist subjects were:
Christianity AD 30-150,
Vikings in Scotland and Ireland AD 800-1150,
and the History of Wales AD 400-1100


Fred Housego

Fred Housego was a London Black Cab Taxi driver when he became Mastermind Champion.
He thought his fame would be a "nine day wonder" but he went on to a successful career in TV and Radio.

His 1980 Specalist subjects were:
King Henry II,
Westminster Abbey
and The Tower of London


Leslie Grout

A teacher at Ottershaw Middle School in Surrey, after 6 unsuccessful applications, Leslie had one final attempt to become a contender, and became the 1981 champion.

His 1981 Specialist subjects were:
St .George's Chapel, Windsor,
Burial Grounds of London,
St. George's Chapel again.

Due to a change in broadcast schedules, Mastermind has no 1982 champion.

A Champion of Champions tourney was held between the first 10 champions. Sir David Hunt was the winner of the title


Chris Hughes

Chris worked as a train driver and railway worker.

He was the winner of the International Mastermind trophy in 1983 and Brain of Britain in 2005. Chris was the last winner of the International Mastermind title.
He is one of only five people ever to have won both Mastermind and Brain of Britain.
Chris was a regular team member on the BBC quiz show Eggheads.

His 1983 Specialists subjects were:
British Steam Locomotives 1900-1963
The Flashman Novels,
British Steam Locomotives 1900-1963 Again


Margaret Harris

A deputy head teacher from Southmpton, Margaret was another repechage champion.

Her final score of 38 was the highest until 1986.

Her 1984 Specialised subjects were:
Cecil Rhodes
The Postal history of South Africa
Cecil Rhodes again


Ian Meadows

Ian Meadows was dubbed 'a drop out' when he became Mastermind Champion.

Even though working as a hospital driver in his native Leicester, he had taken a degree in History at Cambridge.

He was the first champion to kiss the Caithness glass bowl, an action criticised by some, but they did not know how much winning Mastermind meant to him.

His 1985 subjects were:
The English Civil War 1642-47
The History of Astronomy/ Cosmology upto 1700
The English Civil War 1642-47 again


Jennifer Keaveney

"A graduate of the University of Hull, Jennifer was a part of the university's team in the 1978 series of University Challenge".

In the 1986 final, she broke the record score of 39 she had set in the previous round with 40.

Winning Mastermind did not change Jennifer's life, although she says "it made it interesting for a while"

Her 1986 Specialised subjects were:
The Life and Works of Elizabeth Gaskell
The Novels of Edith Nesbit
The Life and Works of Elizabeth Gaskell again


Dr. Jeremy Bradbrooke

A GP from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, Jeremy was persuaded to apply for Mastermind by one of his daughters.

Always keen on history, he chose three 'warlike' subjects, revising between house calls.

His 1987 Specialised subjects were:
The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71
The Anglo-American War 1812-1814
The Crimean War


David Beamish

A graduate of St.John's College Cambridge, David was a clerk in the House of Lords when he appeared on Mastermind, which incidentally, was his first quiz.

His mother encouraged him to apply for Mastermind and after an unsuccessful in his 1986 audition, and was not going to apply again, but a call from the production team to try a new set of audition questions, led to his participation in the 1987 series,

He stormed through the heats, and won the final by one point, on the last question. In his 6 visits to the "Black Chair" he did not pass on any question.

He went on to win Masterbrain, then retired from Quizzing

His 1988 Specialised subjects were :
The Life and Times of Nancy Astor 1879-1964
The British Royal Family 1714-1910
The Life and Times of Nancy Astor 1879-1964 again


Mary Elizabeth Raw

A vet from Weston-Super-Mare, Mary-Elizabeth was confined to a wheelchair because of severe multiple scleirosis. She was the first contender not to sit in the Black Chair.

First seeing Mastermind in 1974 she made three unsuccessful applications, until finally being accepted in 1989. In her first round, she equalled the record score of 40 points,

Her 1989 Specialised subjects were:
The Life and Reign of Kng Charles I
The Life of Albert, the Prnce Consort
The Life and Reign of Kng Charles I again


David Edwards

Welsh born David was head of Science at Cheadle High School.

Having won the Mensa Superbrain title in 1985, he followed it up by becoming the 1990 Mastermind champion.

In 2001 David became the second person to win the top prize on 'Who Wants to be a Milionaire'

His 1990 Specialised subject were:
The Life and Works of Michael Faraday
The Work of Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford
James Clark Maxwell


Stephen Allen

Cornish born Stephen was a professional actor and applied for the 1991 series whilst recovering from an operation,

After becoming champion, Stephen toured Arts Centres and Social Clubs with an ad hoc show.

"An Evening With Mastermind"

His 1991 Specialist subjects were:
The Life and Reign of Henry VII
Dartmoor and it Environs
The Life and Voyages of Sir Francis Drake


Steve Williams

Steve, a computer analyst/ programmer from Solihull with a penchant for curries.

He had appeared on 15-1 and Countdown and several other TV quizzes, which gave him the confidence to apply for Mastermind.

His 1992 Specialist subjects were:
Surrrealist Art Between the Wars
The Life and Reign of Peter the Great
Pre-Socratic Phylosophy


Gavin Fuller

A part time archivist from Portsmouth, Gavin became the youngest ever Mastermind champion at the age of 24.

Gavin has been a mainstay of the Mastermind Club serving as secretary for 18 years, and is now President of the club.

His 1993 Specialist subjects were:
Dr Who
The Medieval Castle in the British Isles 1050-1500
The Crusades 1095-1154


Dr.George Davidson

The senior lecturer in organic chemistry at Nottingham University, he was mayor of Bingham when he won the 1994 title.

He first applied in 1976 but failed the audition, then 18 years later applied again to enable him 'at least not to look too foolish'

His 1994 Specialist subjects were:
Coinage of England 1066 to 1662
The History of Chemistry 1500-1870
The life and works of John Dalton


Kevin Ashman

A civil servant from Winchester when he won Mastermind, Kevin went on to a successful quizzing career in television as a member of the Eggheads team and radio as the question setter on Brain of Britain.

His 41 points in his first round in 1995 remains the highest score ever recorded.

His quizzing credentials are second to none and include
Brain of Britain in 1996
He has been World and European Quiz Champion on 6 occasions.

His 1995 Specialised subjects were:
Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights movement
The History of the Western Cinema
The Zulu Wars


Rev.Dr. Richard Sturch

The first clerical champion, Richard had been a lecturer in philosophy and theology at Ripon Hall Theological College, at the University of Nigeria and at the London Bible College before returning to pastoral work .

He first applied for Mastermind in 1984 with the vague nontion that the intellectual status of the clergy ought to be more widely recognised.

His 1996 Specialised subjects were:
The Life and Literature of Charles Williams
The Emporor Richard III
The Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan


Anne Ashurst

A former journalist, Anne was a successful author in the Mills & Boon stable when she became the 25th and final Mastermind champion of the Magnus Magnusson era.

Her 1997 Specialised subjects were:
Frances Howard, Countess of Somerset
The Regency Novels of Georgette Heyer
Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland

For the 25 years of Mastermind,
Magnus Magnusson was the question master.

He never missed one of the 447 programmes during that time.

He asked 64,500 questions to a total of 1,231 contenders

and was watched by 450 million viewers

Mastermind was transferred to BBC Radio 4 in 1997, hosted by Peter Snow, it ran for three series.

the winners were


Robert Gibson

A teacher and self employed tutor, Robert had reached the semi-final in 1993.

His 1998 Specialised subjects were:
The Solar System
Charles II
and Robert the Bruce


The Rev. Christopher (Kit) Carter

The vicar of St.Silians in Llansilin, Kit was a runner up in Brain of Britain in 1981 and a contender in the 1984 series, before winning the 1999 title.

His 1999 Specialised subjects were:
Birds of Europe
The House of Tudor
British Customs and Traditions


Stephen Followes

A teacher, Stephen remains the only person to have won both Mastermind and University Challenge,

His 2000 Specialist subjects were:
Benjamin Britten
Leos Janacek

In 2001 Mastermind returned to television on the Discvery Channel and was hosted by Clive Anderson


Michael Penrice

A schoolteacher from Wigton in Cumbria.

His 2001 Specialised subjects were :
Professional Boxing to 1980
English History 1603-1714

The format changed for this series with the top two from heats going forward to the next round. that meant that Michael actually played through six rounds with the two specialised subjects alternating each time.

In 2008 the BBC introduced Sports Mastermind, hosted by Des Lynam. It ran for just one season.


Chris Bell

A civil servant from Billericay

His 2008 Specialised subjects were:
The British Lions 1971-2005
Life and career of Geoffry Boycott

In 2002 Mastermind returned to BBC Television with veteran broadcaster John Humphrys as Question Master



Andy Page

A former civil servent from Merseyside, Andy went on to become a question setter on Mastermind.

His 2003 Specialised subjects were:
The Academy Awards
Gilbert & Sullivan
Golfing Majors from 1970


Shaun Wallace

A barrister from London, Shaun went on the become
"The Dark Destroyer" on "The Chase"

His 2004 Specialised subjects were:
UEFA Champion League finals since 1970
England at the UEFA European Football Championship
F.A. Cup Finals since 1970


Pat Gibson

Galway born Pat was the fourth winner of the £1m jackpot on
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"

After his 2005 Mastermind win, he added the "Champion of Champions" title in 2010.

In 2006 he joined Roger Pritchard, Kevin Ashman and Chris Hughes as the only wnners of both Mastermind and Brain of Britain titles.

Pat has won the World Quiz Championship on 4 occasions.

He went on to become a team member of the "Eggheads"

His 2005 Specialised subjects were:
The films of Quentin Tatantino
The Culture Novels of Ian M. Banks
Father Ted


Geoff Thomas

A retired Modern Languages lecturer from Cheshire, Geoff was a self confessed "quiz nut"

It was third time lucky as he had reached the semi final in 1994 and was a finalist in 2003. Geoff was thrilled to receive the trophy from Magnus, who sadly passed away a few months later.

In 1995 he was the winner of "Counterpoint" on BBC radio and added the Brain of Britain title to his impressive CV and joined the list of dual winners.

His 2006 Specialised subjects were:
Edith Piaf
Wiliam Joyce
Margaret Mitchell & Gone With the Wind

Due to recording schedules, there was no 2007 Mastermind champion


David Clark

A London born teacher, David had appeared on the show in 2003 and reapplied on a whim for the 2007 series.

Becoming runner up on Brain of Britain, in 2006 he became The Brain of Mensa.

His 2007 Specialised subjects were:
Henry Ford
George, The Prince Regent
The History of London Bridge


Nancy Dickmann

A book publisher from Oxford and originally from
St. Louis, Missouri Nancy became the first American to win Mastermind.

Daughter Imogen was born 7 weeks before the final and Nancy used the nightime feeds to read up on her final subject,

Her 2009 Specialist subjects were:
The Amelia Peabody novels of Elizabeth Peters
The Life and Films of Fritz Lang
The Lewis & Clark Expedition


Jesse Honey

An urban planner, Jesse was born and raised in Bath.

In the 2010 final he achieved a record score in the John Humphries era of 37 points.

In the Champion of Champions contest later that year, he achieved a record score for a specialised subject with 23 points on "Flags of the World", but lost on passes to Pat Gibson.

After becoming the individual World Quizzing champion
in 2012, he retired from quizzing.

His 2010 Specialsed subjects were:
The London Borough of Wandsworth
The Life & Works of Antonio Gaudi
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral


Ian Bayley

A senior lecturer in computer science at Oxford Brooks University. Ian was runner up in the 2009 final to Nancy Dickmann.

Two years later, he went one better to claim the title.

In between his Mastermind finals, Ian became the sixth person to do the "double" when he won the Brain of Britain title in 2010.

His 2011 Specialised subjects were:
The Romanov Dynasty
Dr Who in the 1970's
Pictures in the National Gallery


Dr. Gary Grant

Aberdeen born Gary was a GP in Bury when he won the 2012 title.

Describing himsel as "not a natural quizzer" he only applied on a whim after watching the show and shouting the answers at the TV.

After reaching the semi-final in 2009 his second attempt proved successful.

His 2012 Specialised subjects were:
The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The Monaco Gran Prix


Aiden McQuade

The Director of Anti-Slavery International
and a contributor to The Guardian & The Independant on slavery issues.

Armagh born Aiden when asked the stress of appearing on Mastermind, replied,

"It takes as much energy to think as to panic"

His 2013 Specialised subjects were
Michael Collins
The Novels of Dennis Lehane
Abraham Lincoln


Clive Dunning

A long time quizzer in his native North East,
Clive applied for the show after being made redundant from his job as a college lecturer that made him feel "Humiliated"

In 2018 he joined the illustrious list of Mastermind
and Brain of Britain Champions.

His 2014 Specialised subjects were:
Life and Works of John Lennon
Life and Poetry of Philip Larkin


Dr. Marianne Fairthorne

A quantitative analyst from Henley-0n-Thames.

Though her PhD was in Mathematics, she showed the family interest in history and archaeology by her choice of specialist subjects.

Her 2015 Specialised subjects were:
Empress Livia
Caterina Sfroza


Alan Heath

A chartered accountant form Aylesbury, Alan became the first to win the title on a tie-break.

There were two tie breaks, the first finished at 3-3 and was never broadcast, Alan held his nerve and won the second.

His 2016 Specialised subjects were
I, Claudius
British Summer Olympic Champions


Isabelle Heward

A passionate quizzer from Scunthorpe,

Isabelle had a long pedigree on TV quiz shows, including trying to win Mastermind since her first appearance in 1983.

After a 1996 semi final, she finally won the coveted title at her fourth attempt.

Her 2017 Specialised subjects were
The Life and Films of Rita Hayworth
The Daughters of George the Third
The life and Films of Billy Wilder


Brian Chesney

A retired librarian, Brian became the second champion from Malvern, following John Hart in 1975.

After a heartbreaking loss on passes in the 2014 final, he went one better in 2018.

His 2017 Specialised subjects were
The Life of Harold Wilson
The Giordano Bruno novels of S.J .Parris
The Revolt of the Netherlands 1568-1609


Judith Lewis

Psychiatrist Judith's win was a controversial one.
After allegedly giving a wrong answer to her final and winning question, the answer was allowed to stand.
However this was irrevalant as she would have won the title on the number on passes.

Her 2019 Specialist subjects were
The Life of C.S.Lewis
The Lord Peter Wimsey novels of Dorothy L Sayers
The Fortunes of War series by Olivia Manning

In 2020 John Humphries handed over the mantle of inquisitor to Clive Myrie


Dave McBryan

Dublin born and based in Edinburgh, Dave was a quiz question setter at the time of his win.
Unlike most champions, he was more worried about his specialist subjects, than general knowledge, because
  “that’s what I do”

His 2020 Specialist subjects were:
Otis Redding
Olympic Fencing
The View Askewniverse Films of Kevin Smith



Jonathan Gibson

PhD student at St.Andrews University, Glasgow born  Jonathan became at 24 Mastermind’s youngest ever winner, ending Gavin Fuller’s 28 year claim to the title.

“I wouldn’t say that it really has anything to do with intelligence in a classical way. It’s about curiosity and just continuing to do quizzes whenever you can,”.

2021 Specialist Subjects were:
Agatha Christie’s Poirot
William Pitt the Younger
Flanders and  Swann


Alice Walker

Alice Walker a  retired IT consultant from Derbyshire spent years plucking up the courage to apply for Mastermind before she decided: “I’m not getting any younger. It’s time.”

It turned out to be the right decision. Ms Walker, 66, is the 2022 champion, becoming the oldest woman to win the title and recorded the highest score of the series

Her 2022 Specialist Subjects were:
Rodgers & Hammerstien
Julia Margaret Cameron
The Peak District National Park



Stuart Field

Stuart Field a self confessed “Quizaholic”  from Sheffield waited 20 years before applying for Mastermind, his win was a result of two decades of preparation and quizzing, both at home and locally.

Stuart said that Mastermind was the only thing he ever wanted to win and when told he has won described the moment as utterly astonishing. 

His  2023 Specialist Subjects were:
Jonathon Creek
The Jason Bourne novels


Ruth Hart

For Ruth Hart a Charity Engagement Officer from Glasgow, Mastermind was her first television appearance.

Ruth used to watch Mastermind with her late Father, who was himself a big quizzer and had always encouraged her to give the show a go. Sadly, she found out she’d been selected as a Mastermind contestant shortly after her father had passed away. 

Her 2024 Specialist Subjects were:
Red Clydeside
The Novels of Muriel Spark
Francis Bacon