Entertainment

The experienced quizzer becomes the oldest female mastermind champion

A veteran quizzer who became the oldest mastermind champion at 66, “never expected to win the BBC show,” she said.

Lice Walker won the Grand Final by six points – she scored a perfect 14 out of 14 in her subject across the Peak District National Park.

Ms Walker, now 67, had the highest score of the entire series with a total of 33. Her victory marks the 50th anniversary of the show, which first aired in 1972.

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Mastermind presenter Clive Myrie (BBC/PA)

The oldest winner to date was Isabelle Heward, who finally won the title on her fourth attempt in 2017 at the age of 61.

Ms Walker, a retired IT consultant from Derbyshire, told the PA news agency she chose to answer questions about the Peak District because she walks her dog in the area and admitted she didn’t relate to the general knowledge round prepared.

“I live on the edge of the Peak District, an area I visit often because I love walking.

“I just thought it would be an interesting topic because there is a lot to know about it, besides the geographical aspect there is a lot of history and geology.

‘I had various books about the Peak District which I studied for quite some time.

“I didn’t really prepare for the general knowledge because you can ask literally anything, I do quite a lot of quizzes all the time anyway, so I’m in the realm of quizzes, I didn’t really do any specific preparation,” she says.

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Ms Walker said she “loved” quizzes from a young age and began taking them seriously in the early 80s when she joined Macclesfield’s Quiz League.

She previously took part in BBC’s Eggheads, The Chase on ITV and Channel 4 quiz show Fifteen To One before plucking up the courage to take part in Mastermind.

She told the PA news agency: “The Chase was an absolute disaster from start to finish, it was just really bad but it didn’t stop me from participating in Mastermind.

“Eggheads wasn’t that bad, we still haven’t won, I was on my own after all my teammates were eliminated.

“I’ve been thinking about doing Mastermind for a long time.

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Jonathan Gibson, who won the BBC’s Youngest Person Mastermind last year (BBC/PA)

“I think originally I thought you have to know a lot about your field before you apply, and I used to think I didn’t know enough about anything, but then I realized that people just picked a topic, that she’s interested and learning about it, so that’s what I did.”

On the show, Ms Walker said reaching the final “totally exceeded” her expectations and exclaimed “Oh my God” when she realized she’d won.

“It’s wonderful. I wanted to apply before I got older because when you get older you don’t work as fast, but I feel like I’m still pretty sharp in the head.

“Someone I know made it to the semifinals last year and I just thought let’s just try, bite the bullet and apply.

Her win follows 2021 champion Jonathan Gibson, a PhD student from Glasgow, who became the youngest person to win the show last year aged 24.

During the final episode, the Poynton Jemmers Northwest Morris dancers performed to cheer on Ms Walker – who has danced with the group for more than 40 years.

On the show, her partner Haydn said: “Alice is very focused with her quiz, she spends hours reading all the books on her subject, taking notes and testing herself.

“I tried to test her from her notes, but she just knows everything, so it’s really a bit pointless.”

Similarly, her daughter Laura said her mother had “waited a long time” to appear on the show and that it was “her time” to win.

Ms Walker’s other specialties throughout the competition were Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in the heat and Julia Margaret Cameron in the semifinals where she received a perfect score.

The finale marked BBC news journalist Clive Myrie’s first series as host of the long-running quiz show.

He replaced veteran journalist John Humphrys, who resigned last year after 18 years in the role.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/veteran-quizzer-becomes-oldest-female-mastermind-champion-41543487.html The experienced quizzer becomes the oldest female mastermind champion

Fry Electronics Team

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