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BBC to introduce 'Junior Mastermind' in the UK

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MUMBAI: The BBC has announced that it will adapt its game show Mastermind for children in the UK. Junior Mastermind starts at the end of the month on BBC One.

In India, Synergy produces Mastermind India. The show is hosted by Siddhartha Basu. In the UK, Mastermind went on air in 1972 when part-time lecturer Nancy Wilkinson became the first-ever champion.

Now on BBC One, children will face questions from quizmaster John Humphrys to see who will be the first Junior Mastermind champion.The show will work in the same way as the adult version. The children, who are 10 or 11 years old, will answer questions on their specialist subject, followed by two minutes of general knowledge questions.

The contestants surprised John with their choice of subjects and the standard of the questions. He added, "The range of subjects was extraordinary. I thought they would all want to choose Harry Potter but actually only one person did. The subjects range from Queen Victoria to frogs to James Bond villains to Van Gogh, every bit as challenging and varied as the adult choices.

"What it showed was the extraordinarily wide range of interests 11 year olds have and how much they read, far more that I would have thought. When I was asked to do the series I had expected all sorts of problems. When I first saw the questions I thought they were far too hard and it would be embarrassing because the children wouldn't be able to answer them.

"I thought we should make the questions easier but the production told me I was talking nonsense and they were, as usual, right. Right from the very first set of questions I could see how wrong I was, the kids were brilliant."

Over 250 schools from all corners of the UK had applied for information on Junior Mastermind and the children who made it through to the heats come from a variety of schools around the country and from a wide range of backgrounds.

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