What would your Mastermind subject be?

Just caught tonight’s episode of Celebrity Mastermind with Danny Wallace, Nicholas Parsons, that bald veggie restauranteur and that Scottish one off Loose Women who looks like she’s sucking a wasp (and acts like it). An interesting collection of specialist subjects: the history of Tranmere Rovers; the life and works of Edward Lear; the lives of the Pankhurst women; and, erm, Ghostbusters. See if you can match the subject to the celebrity. It’ll be really easy.
Anyway, I got to pondering a couple of things. You see, there’s a thin line you have to tread with your specialist subject. Obviously, you have to be good at it for one thing. But there’s a kind of social snobbery with it. “What’s that? Your specialist subject is ‘Chantelle off Celebrity Big Brother‘? Okay… Mine’s the Aeneid and its relationship with medieval Latin poetry. Is that you fetching your coat?”
I’m not sure I’d have had the balls to go on with Ghostbusters as my specialist subject.
But I’m not sure what my specialist subject would have been. ‘TV’s a little too broad. ‘US TV’ would confine me to a dungeon of Dallas, Dynasty and Dawson’s Creek, knowing my luck. ‘Doctor Who‘ really wouldn’t get me anywhere at all, since the questions would be set by someone who’s memorised every second line from the annuals and wants to know what kind of toy Davros used to entertain baby Daleks with. Plus it would be a bit nerdy. But picking a non-nerdy TV subject (eg Play for the Day, the works of Carla Lane, The Sopranos) carries with it all the joy of learning the Highway Code and eating your greens, and I don’t really have the time to brush up on four seasons of The Wire (fifth starting on Sunday).
So I’m still thinking.
How about you? What would your socially acceptable, TV-related specialist subject be?


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.