My ‘Mastermind Australia’ journey – Part 7

Darius Horsham (a character I used to play on ‘Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell’) sitting in the ‘Mastermind’ Big Black Chair… by the brilliant cartoonist Tanaya Qoifoog (

Hello and welcome to Part 7 of my account of my Mastermind Australia experience. Here’s the link to my episode on SBS OnDemand:

Now, an AWFUL lot happened on the actual day of the record, so what you’re about to read is actually my diary entry from the next day… after I’d had a chance to digest it all, make sense of it and write it down. Now read on…


02/02 – The day after The Big Day

Well, what a day that was.

Up at 6:30 and thought I’d have the buffet breakfast advertised in the hotel; that’d be convenient, and fuel me up for the day. Advertised in reception and in my hotel room as being on from 7:00 – 9:30 AM in the hotel’s restaurant. I got to the restaurant at 7:00, aiming to do half an hour’s revision over breakfast, but the restaurant was closed. I managed to find a café 5 minutes away, and sat outside in an effort to find somewhere quiet for my revision… but couldn’t get much done, thanks to a middle-aged man at the next table very loudly talking at a young woman about all the TV shows and movies he liked, and which she HAD to watch. Noise pollution.

Back to the hotel room, collected the notes – and extra shirts – that I wanted to take with me, jumped into the car and drove the 10 minutes to SBS.

I parked in the building’s car park, signed in at reception, and noticed a few contestants milling around in the foyer. Had a nice chat with Mastermind Australia Season 1 winner Troy Egglestone, who I’d previously interviewed for the blog and we grabbed a couple of “Before” pictures, noting that ‘Oh yes, we’re all smiles now…’

Troy and me, before the festivities begin.

Two of the show’s producers led us through to the greenroom, where I (re-)introduced myself to the people I’d be competing against today:

1. William Laing (who I’d juuuuust managed to beat by One Point on Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster, back in 2006):

2. Yael Blinko (who’d won big on WWTBAM, and who I’d competed against in a Temptation Quizmasters heat, also in 2006):


3. Kieran Magee, a Millionaire Hot Seat winner, who I hadn’t met before.

The greenroom was small, and featured a couple of couches, a few chairs and a mirror or two. It also accommodated the wardrobe rack and makeup table, so space was at a bit of a premium. The production had supplied some bottles of water for us and a few packaged snacks. On the wall was a screen with a video feed patched in from the studio.

I chatted to William quite a bit… and of course, we both realised that Mastermind was framing this meet-up between the two of us as a grudge match (later, during the show, Marc did indeed half-heartedly ask each of us how much we intended to CRUSH the other one.)

From the greenroom, the four of us watched the first episode play out.

Competing in that first episode were (L-R) Troy Egglestone, Kate Buckingham, Xavier Lawlor & Sally West.

There seemed to be quite a few delays during the record, as various questions were challenged, and Marc re-did questions he’d stumbled over. I really felt for Xavier; a teacher whose special subject was Survivor All Stars. He spent a lot of time in the big black chair waiting for the production to work through these various delays. My heart went out to him, and I found myself hoping that my rhythm and concentration wouldn’t be subject to that many delays when my turn came…

During my chat in the greenroom with William, I complimented him on his book How To Win A Millionwhich I’d been re-reading and learning from over the last few days. At one stage, he looked over my shoulder as I was reading through my Bottom questions (yet again), and asked me what I was doing. I told him I’d written 19 pages of questions on my specialist subject, so surely some of them should overlap with the questions the show had in store for me… he said “Oh that’s a good idea, I hadn’t thought of that”.

Eventually, the first game of this five-game Record Day finished. Troy won by a large margin (he really DID know a lot about NRL State of Origin 1985 – 2005!), and it was time for those of us competing in Episode 2 to go into the studio.

Deep breath. Here goes…

“And…. ACTION!”

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