What’s your specialist subject?

August 23, 2011 in Mastermind, Quiz Show

Buried deep within the press release announcing TV3’s new Autumn/Winter schedule is the news that Ireland’s third television channel is bringing us a local version of famous British uber-quiz Mastermind.

Ok, I admit it.  It’s not exactly hidden.  It’s just that it took me four days to become aware of the news.

Further details on the show are thin on the ground at the moment.  All we do know is that former Fine Gael TD, Minister for Justice and answer to a famous quiz question, Nora Owen, will take on the role of being Ireland’s John Humphrys.

So little else turns up when one enters “Mastermind Ireland” into google that I must believe (hope) that the show’s production is still some weeks away.  There’s no sign of any contestants being recruiting just yet.  Whenever any further info comes to light, I’ll be sure to get it up onto this site.

I’m quite excited about this.  It’ll be great to have a serious, weekly quiz on our TV screens.  Heck, maybe it’ll leap into popular culture and become one of those shows discussed the morning after at water coolers and 11am breaks? For this week, at least, we can dream…

PS I’ve been reminded that I actually discussed this very idea on national radio once. 🙂 Check out the post ‘Trivia with Tubridy‘.

8 responses to What’s your specialist subject?

  1. Its an assumption that it will be serious as they’ve dumbed down it on the Beeb. They have this tradition of moving quizzes to BBC1 and making them easier for the plebs. The chances of anyone now doing greek pottery 400bc-200bc are slim to none

    • This cuts both ways though Dave. For example, in those “good old days” on the late 1970s, was it enjoyable for the TV audience to sit through two minutes on ‘Greek Pottery 400 – 200BC’?

      Perhaps the current standard makes it more accessible for a general audience?

  2. This is not the first Irish stab at Mastermind. I have a vague memory of Magnus himself doing an Irish version in the late 1970s and an Irish Mastermind champion called John Mulcahy was the first winner of International Mastermind in 1979. The dulcet-toned Michael Ryan hosted a version in the 1980s. It will be dumbed down a bit … when Shaun Wallace won the UK version in 2004 he took History of Wembley FA Cup Finals. Still this will be the first prime time quiz programme on Irish TV since It’s Not The Answer left our screens in 2003 so it’s to be welcomed.

    • Excellent David. I didn’t know anything about Ireland’s irregular entry into the world of Mastermind.

      Did you ever give it a go, btw?

  3. Alas Mastermind and Countdown are two that I have long intended to try but haven’t yet got around to. The British MM application process asks people to nominate 4 specialist subjects and to state a reference work in each case with which you are particularly familiar. This is apparently to gauge the level of difficulty a “contender” can cope with. Hopefully the TV3 avatar of the programme will stick closely to the traditional format and Nora Owen doesn’t go the way of Dunphy’s Weakest Link or Gaybo’s WWTBAM

  4. As of phone call to TV3 today (20/9/2011) there is still no definite news of auditions or selection criteria for this programme. I was informed that TV3 are negotiating with a number of production teams to select “the one that best fits the format” and “hopefully something will be on our screens before Christmas” It will be extensively flagged on programmes like Xpose and Ireland AM. So we can only wait and see … TV3 said it was part of their Autumn Schedule but not clear which year they are referring to!

    • Good man David. I emailed TV3 myself almost two weeks ago and haven’t even received a reply as of yet. So I’m glad you actually picked up the phone and called them.

      It seems a very strange way of doing business. They’ve announced the show, even though they don’t have a production company lined up?

  5. Thanks John. I got the impression talking to them that when it finally emerges it will strongly resemble the BBC format as it now applies under John Humphreys. At one point a Mastermind series had 64 contenders whittled down to an eventual 4 plus 1 winner from a semifinal involving 4 best runners-up, making 5 finallists in all. More recently they start with 48 people and whittle them down to 12 in semifinal and 3 in final + winner from runner-up semi-final. This latter arrangement with 4 finallists is the one they are looking at and so there should be 48 successful people from the audition process.

    I have sent an email today on the British Quiz Association website asking their many recent Masterminders (dozens of Grand Finallists from the Humphreys era among their number) asking for pointers about the likely format that the audition process will take and hopefully some of them will respond.

    I would recommend John that your good self or any of your august correspondents consider joining that site ( it’s free and open to all in the Republic) and is a very diverting website – though not a patch on yours!

    I have a teaser on there at the moment which has defeated the combined brainpower of the UK for a week now although I fear it will fall by the weekend (it’s under the category of “Ten Pin Bowling” – it’s good crack and maybe we can soften up Messrs Ashman, Gibson, Honey and Bjortomt in the process!

    Will talk to you again soon John

    Regards Dave

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