Mastermind: Veteran quizzer becomes oldest female winner

By Dave Wade
BBC News

Published
Image source, William Cherry/Press Eye
Image caption,
Alice Walker, a retired IT consultant, was 66 when she triumphed on Mastermind

A veteran quizzer became the oldest female BBC Mastermind champion when she triumphed in the show at the age of 66.

Alice Walker, from Derbyshire, scored a perfect 14 out of 14 in her specialist subject, the Peak District.

Ms Walker - who won by six points in the grand final - was cheered on by a performance from the Morris dancing troupe she belongs to during the show, which aired on BBC Two on Monday.

The now 67-year-old said it was a "shock" to win.

"I applied for Mastermind after watching the programme and thought about entering for many years, but never expected to win, and it was quite a shock when I did," the retired IT consultant said.

"The opposition in the final was very tough but the questions just seemed to fall my way. It was a great experience and such an honour to receive the beautiful trophy."

The previous oldest female winner was Isabelle Heward, who took the title at her fourth attempt at the age of 61 in 2017.

Image caption,
Clive Myrie took over hosting Mastermind in 2021

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

She has been part of the Macclesfield and Stockport quiz league since the 1980s, the show's producers said, and entered this year's Mastermind after contemplating applying for years.

"I'm not getting any younger. It's time," she said.

Peak Posers

Image source, Paul Simpson

Alice Walker correctly answered these questions. How about you?

Answers are below the photo.

1. A traditional almond and jam pudding is named after which town known as the unofficial capital of the Peak District?

2. In the mid-18th Century, which landscape architect was commissioned to redesign the gardens at Chatsworth House?

3. What neolithic stone circle located on moorland near Monyash is sometimes referred to as the Stonehenge of the north?

4. Which peak, the second highest point in Derbyshire, has been described as one of Britain's only true deserts because of its expanse of virtually featureless moorland?

5. Which village between Leek and Buxton claims to be the highest in Britain at more than 1,500ft above sea level?

Image source, Ripley Snapper

Answers: 1. Bakewell 2. Capability Brown 3. Arbor Low 4. Bleaklow 5. Flash

Her partner Haydn, daughter Laura and granddaughter Evelyn watched from home, while the Poynton Jemmers Northwest Morris dancers appeared on the show with a performance to cheer Ms Walker on.

BBC News journalist Clive Myrie took over the hosting duties last year, replacing John Humphrys who had overseen the quiz show for 18 years.

The final is available to view on BBC iPlayer.

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