Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Clever daughter wins Mastermind title

A DOCTOR from Shiplake won

A DOCTOR from Shiplake won Mastermind – and then gave the famous trophy to her father to take home and hide.

Marianne Fairthorne, 32, a quantitative analyst, won the final of the latest BBC series, which was shown on Friday night. But she couldn’t keep the trophy in case it was seen by a friend before the broadcast.

She joint top-scored with 25 following specialist subject and general knowledge rounds but took the title as she hadn’t passed on any questions.

Dr Fairthorne, a former Shiplake Primary School pupil who now lives in London, is only the second woman champion since presenter John Humphreys has been quizmaster.

The final was eagerly watched by her parents Simon and Belinda at their home in Lower Shiplake, even though they already knew the result.

Mr Fairthorne, who was at the recording of the final in November, said: “Attending the recordings was tenser than watching at home since the score was not shown during the answering, it was dubbed on afterwards. In the final I was keeping track by counting on my fingers.

“Marianne still seemed in a state of shock when John Humphrys presented her with the beautifully engraved glass bowl that is the

trophy. She was certainly not as articulate as usual.” He said he took the trophy home with him in its “scruffy” box because his daughter said she had nowhere to hide it in her flat.

Mr Fairthorne added: “Winning was some consolation for me. Before she moved to London I had to drive to Twyford after midnight about once a week to pick her up after an evening quizzing.

“Sometimes she fell asleep on the Tube or train and I had to pick her up, for example, from Ruislip or Newbury.”

Dr Fairthorne had qualified for the semi-finals as one of the highest-scoring losers.

Her specialist subject for the final was Caterina Sforza, the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, and she answered all 15 questions correctly.

In the general knowledge round, she raced up to 20 points but then stumbled on the final few questions.

She obtained the crucial 25th point by correctly answering a question about author George Orwell, who also grew up in Shiplake.

Humphreys asked who in Orwell’s book

wrote his first secret diary entry on April 4, 1984. Dr Fairthorne correctly answered that it was Winston Smith.

Humphreys, who presented Dr Fairthorne with the coveted glass trophy, said: “You were shaking your head throughout the programme. Every time you scored a point you looked puzzled that you had no chance of doing it and you did brilliantly.”

She replied: “It is certainly quite a shock.”

Dr Fairthorne watched the final with quiz friends in London.

He father said: “Besides the usual celebration, they had organised a quiz before the transmission and all the questions were Marianne-based, such as ‘what was the surname of Marianne in

Sense and Sensibility
?’ ”

Dr Fairthorne has previously appeared on two other BBC quiz shows,

Only Connect

University Challenge
, where she first gained a reputation for unusual headwear.

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