My ‘Mastermind Australia’ journey – Part 6

Hello and welcome to Part six of my PatentedHowToWinGameShowsBehindTheScenesReminiscence of when I went on Mastermind Australia that time.

Here’s the link to my episode on SBS OnDemand:

The past few weeks have been all about study and preparation, but now we’re finally, inevitably, getting down to the pointy end…



It’s 9:51 the night before Mastermind.

I’ve been here at the Twin Towers Inn since 2:00 this afternoon. As I steel myself to compete in Mastermind Australia‘s Champions Week tomorrow, my mind drifts back to 2006, when I was in Melbourne’s Crown Promenade Hotel, the night before competing in Temptation‘s ‘Quizmasters’ tournament. I relate that experience in detail – all its highs and all its lows – in Chapter 13 of my eBook How To Win Game Shows. I think my preparation regime was sound on that occasion – I do remember the cramming, the early night, the big hotel buffet breakfast, and feeling well-prepared, well-rested and well-fuelled when the driver arrived to take me to the studio… Now, I don’t want to spoil the end result of that endeavour here, but I can reveal that the title of that particular chapter in the eBook is Champion of Champions? Not so much…

Having said that, I must admit I absolutely love the Temptation Quizmasters consolation prize – a magnificent Maurice Lacroix watch – which I save for special occasions.

I’ll be wearing it tomorrow for luck.

Today I’ve done quite a bit of study, completing my couple of notes on each Time magazine Person of the Year…

… re-watching three more episodes of Bottom and dreaming up more questions about it.

Jude and I have driven up to Sydney, and are working tomorrow’s record into a week-long trip up here. Last night, we stayed at a friend’s place, and her daughter kindly tested me on loads of Bottom questions from my Master Document. I got them all right. (And so I blummen well should – there’s not really any excuse for getting them wrong, since I wrote them all!)

For some reason, she put crosses next to the ones she asked me, that I got correct.

Also tonight I finished all the Bottom online quizzes at and pretty much got all of them right; just a couple of misses. So I’m feeling fairly confident about my knowledge of the Bottom TV shows. I’ll do a little bit more revision of the live shows tomorrow morning.

I’ve just skimmed through and read a fair bit of William Laing’s book How To Win A Million, which has quite a lot of nice little trivia questions buried in it, which I’ve absorbed (and hopefully they’ve all gone in).

I’ve also now finished the Time magazine ‘Person of the Year’ exercise, going into Wikipedia for each of them, finding a couple of interesting facts about them, and writing ’em down next to their names. I think – and hope! – it’s been a very useful exercise.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll go through the list of all the Oscars for Best Picture and just jot down their directors. That won’t be difficult.

A jarring thought – AND A HUGE OVERSIGHT – occurred to me earlier today: why haven’t I printed out the Periodic Table, and had that with me at all times? Argh.

I’m due in at the studio at 8:50 AM. It’s 5-10 minutes drive from here. I’ve set the alarm for 6:30. Tomorrow morning I’ll go to the hotel’s restaurant, have their buffet breakfast, and fuel up for the day.

Generally, I’m feeling pretty good about Bottom, but am also resigned to the fact that there will always be gaps in my general knowledge. I’m feeling very familiar with the format of Mastermind: Two minutes on the Special Subject, 90 seconds on the General Knowledge and of course the ‘Slow Burn’, should I win my way through to Friday’s episode.

So I’m feeling fairly excited but relaxed.

I haven’t had dinner tonight, but I had an enormous chicken parmigiana at the North Bondi RSL for lunch. So I don’t necessarily need to eat tonight, but I’ll make sure that I’m definitely fuelled up tomorrow morning.

Turning in now. It’s 10:00, and I’m setting the alarm for 6:30. Earplugs in, air conditioner on. Hopefully I’ll sleep right through – because I didn’t last night – and I should be relaxed, well rested, and with a head full of recently acquired knowledge that I can access quickly and effectively, should it be required.

Good night, everybody.


Good night, me.

I’ll see you (by which I mean me) back here next time, for The Big Day!

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