- Applicants have now been banned from choosing Fawlty Towers and Blackadder
- Mark Helsby said the hit sitcoms have been ‘exhausted’ on the BBC series
- Even literary topics like Roald Dahl would be unlikely to get you in the chair
You might be an expert on Basil Fawlty’s frenzied tirades or know every one of Baldrick’s cunning plans off by heart.
But that won’t be enough to get you into the Mastermind chair.
So many people have chosen the classic shows as their specialist subject over the years that there are simply no questions left to ask.
Mastermind producer Mark Helsby said the hit sitcoms have been ‘exhausted’ on the BBC series, which is fronted by John Humphrys
The programme’s producer says applicants have now been banned from choosing Fawlty Towers and Blackadder.
Mark Helsby said the hit sitcoms have been ‘exhausted’ on the BBC series, which is fronted by John Humphrys.
Even literary topics such as Roald Dahl or The Chronicles of Narnia would be unlikely to get you in the chair because they have also been requested by too many contestants, Mr Helsby said.
Rowan Atkinson and Tony Robinson’s hit sitcom Blackadder will no longer be accepted as a valid specialist subject on the show
‘You can do any subject you want – within reason,’ he explained. ‘They have to be suitable for broadcast on BBC2 on a Friday night, but pretty much everything is do-able, provided there’s sufficient source material.
‘Some of the shorter sitcom series – Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and Father Ted for example – have been exhausted for new questions. Thirty-two people wanted to do Fawlty Towers last year, 19 wanted Blackadder and 22 wanted Father Ted.
‘Some very popular literary subjects such as the Chronicles of Narnia or Roald Dahl probably wouldn’t be agreed to for the same reason.’
John Humphrys has presented Mastermind on BBC Two since 2003
Mastermind first aired in 1972. Last year, 262 hopefuls asked to be quizzed on Harry Potter, making it the most popular subject, yet the rules meant only one contestant could use it.
The 2014 Mastermind champion Clive Dunning’s specialist subject in the heats was Blackadder. And in 2005, series champion Patrick Gibson had Father Ted as his specialist subject in the final.
Mr Helsby told the Radio Times it was a matter of balance. ‘If [contestants] wanted to do the Works of Shakespeare, we would say no, as the subject is so vast that there is very little chance that what they think is worth remembering would overlap with what the question writers think is worth [asking],’ he said. ‘Equally, we would say Romeo and Juliet would be too narrow, but Shakespeare’s Tragedies would be a good compromise.’
What score would you get on our Mastermind sitcom quiz?
They may not appear on Mastermind now, but these questions will test the most ardent of sitcom fans…
- In the second series of Blackadder Percy tries to raise money for Edmund by mastering alchemy. But what does he end up creating instead of gold?
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, George paints a portrait that depicts Edmund as a ‘Noble Tommy’. What guise does Baldrick take in the picture?
- In the same series Edmund is sentenced to death for eating General Melchett’s favourite pigeon. What was it called?
- When Father Ted gives up smoking and Father Jack gives up drinking for Lent, what is Father Dougal supposed to give up?
- When Father Dougal is asked about the significance of the 19th July, what historical event does he come up with?
- In The Mainland episode, Father Ted is attacked by actor Richard Wilson for shouting what famous catchphrase?
- In the Fawlty Towers episode Basil the Rat, where does Manuel hide the rat?
- In the episode Gourmet Night, what was the only meat on the menu at Fawlty Towers?
- In The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers, why is Sybil spending time in hospital?
ANSWERS: 1) Pure green 2) A nun 3) Speckled Jim 4) Roller blading 5) The Ice Age ending 6) ‘I don’t believe it’ 7) In a biscuit tin 8) Duck 9) An ingrown toenail