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Harry Potter is Mastermind's most popular specialist subject – but there's a problem

If Mastermind contestants had their way, the whole show would be devoted to Harry Potter trivia

Young Harry Ron and Hermione - Harry Potter
Published: Monday, 29th January 2018 at 8:00 pm

Hundreds of swottish Hermiones think they know everything there is to know about the Harry Potter franchise – but they'll never get a chance to prove it on national television, because Mastermind has rejected their choice of specialist subject.


Mastermind producer Mark Helsby has revealed the BBC2 quiz show's most popular subject and it's pretty magical.

"Harry Potter! Last year 262 people wanted to take that as one of their three specialist subjects – only one of them could," he told Radio Times. This person is, quite literally, the Chosen One.

(Youtube, Warner Bros, TL)
(YouTube, Warner Bros)

Each contender has to agree three different specialist subjects before they take up their place in the heats, and – to give the question-writers and the public a break – there is no repetition of a subject in consecutive series.

Since the first episode of Mastermind aired in 1972 with Magnus Magnusson as host, some topics have cropped up again and again – from seventies series Fawlty Towers to nineties classic Father Ted.

"Some of the shorter sitcom series – Fawlty Towers, Blackadder and Father Ted for example – have been exhausted for new questions," Helsby admitted.

"Thirty-two people wanted to do Fawlty Towers last year; 19 wanted Blackadder and 22 wanted Father Ted. Some of the very popular literary subjects such as the Chronicles of Narnia or Roald Dahl probably wouldn't be agreed to for the same reason."

So if you are putting the final touches to your Mastermind application, it's probably best to put away the Harry Potter books and cancel your Blackadder binge and find a new specialist interest...


Read the full interview in Radio Times magazine, out now 

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