'You passed on just the one.' Mastermind, the BBC television contest, has subjected more than 1,400 would-be Brains of Britain to its rapid-fire interrogation. But after 25 years, the programme was broadcast on television for the last time in September 1997. At its zenith Mastermind attracted 12 million viewers. Its winners - taxi drivers, diplomats and teachers - became national celebrities and the programme spawned an obsession with general knowledge, from Trivial Pursuit to pub quizzes. Its success has been due to a simple formula, the consistency of its standards and in large measure to the gravitas, courtesy and humour of its Icelandic-born question-master, Magnus Magnusson. His book of behind-the-scenes or in-the-chair anecdotes is a valedictory celebration of a much-loved programme. You have two minutes to buy this book, starting Now!
Magnus Magnusson KBE was born in Iceland and worked for The Scotsman after an Oxford degree. He made his name presenting the BBC's Chronicle series, then came Mastermind in 1972.