My ‘Mastermind Australia’ journey – Part 5

Hello and welcome to Stop 5 on the road towards this particular episode of Mastermind Australia (, which featured these fine folks…

From left to right: William Laing, me, ‘Mastermind Australia’ host Marc Fennell, Kieran Magee and Yael Blinco.

Our story resumes in late January, with less than a fortnight to Record Day…



Discussing this with Jude last night, she asked me who I’ll be up against. I told her the names that the producers have told me so far… Then I was struck by a gap in my homework regimen: WHY HAVEN’T I STUDIED THE COMPETITION?

So, my next step is to jot down all my competitors that I know so far, track down their previous appearances, watch them and make notes. I do know that the Mastermind Australia champions so far are:

1. Troy Egglestone: Season 1: eps 81, 85 – a quote from him: “I’m one of the most competitive people you’ll ever meet.” He’s a teacher, and may bring some students in to watch. When an answer is a person’s name, Troy knows the trick of just giving the surname (to give him more time). Of course, I feel like I already know Troy a bit, having interviewed him for this very blog

2. Jacqui Markham: Season 2: eps 81, 85 – Sadly, Jacqui is no longer with us.

3. William Laing: Season 3: eps 81, 85 – I know William, of course from Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster, and I’ve read his book How To Win A Million. During the episode, Marc says “William, everyone else here is terrified of you.” 

William: Well, you get that. 

Marc: Often? 

William: Invariably.

William’s aunties went on Mastermind back in the day, so this is important to him. He said this has been the hardest quiz show he’s been on… 

4. Sterling Coates: Season 4: eps 81, 85 – seems very serious, very focussed.

5. Miles Glaspole: Season 5: eps 81, 85 – very serious quizzer, as are his parents! Very competitive, and of course he writes questions for the TikTok 10, so he’ll be very match-fit. If he were to be the ultimate winner, he’d be a deserving one. 

6. They also mentioned that Andrew Skarbec (who won $1,000,000 on Million Dollar Minute) would be in the mix – the full episode of his big win isn’t online, but there are clips… One thing I do know about him is that he’s got nerves of steel!

Having said this, there will be another 9 or 10 people in the pool (as they’ll need 16 champions to populate the four episodes).

Now, when it comes to general knowledge, there’s not much specific study you can do… but I do remember studying the list of Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ back when I was prepping for Temptation. So what I’ll do for this is get AI to do me a list of all Time magazine’s Persons of the Year for the 20th century (with maybe a two sentence summary of each?) + the first 23 Persons of the Year for this century.*

* In the end, I didn’t actually trust this to AI. I printed out the list, and used Wikipedia to glean a couple of fun / noteworthy facts about each person (i.e. facts that would make for interesting quiz questions), and jotted them down next to each name. I figured that method would give those facts a better chance of lodging and taking root in my brain. Here’s what the (rather messy) end product looked like:


Watching the final two episodes of Celebrity Mastermind... and generally just relearning the lessons from the earlier episodes. There are loads of good examples of how not to play the game here. Having said that, Phil Burton is a deserving and gracious winner. I like that he shook everyone’s hands – that man was raised right.


I’ve now received hotel accommodation details – they’re putting me up at the Twin Towers Inn, which is a 5 minute drive from SBS studios. And my call time – 8:50 AM on Thursday February 1st

It’s all feeling more and more real. My Bottom watching and question-writing continues apace…


As time ticks on, we draw closer and closer to the pointy end: The Mastermind Australia Record Day. As I move into the final phase of preparations, all my efforts (by definition) become more and more last-minute. What should I now be concentrating on in my revision? What have I forgotten? Does there come a point where attempting to cram any more is essentially useless (the “if-I-don’t-know-it-now,-I-never-will” idea)?

For the answers to these questions, join me back here next Tuesday afternoon! Until then, then! 

Oh, by the way… if you also happen to be a Bottom fan, a brilliant documentary on the show, Bottom Exposed, recently aired on UK television. Someone’s put it up on Dailymotion… if you know where to look 😉  


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