Listen: New 'Mastermind' host Marc Fennell talks about how he prepared for his role, and tests Breakfast host Sam on his specialised topic
Walkley Award winner Marc Fennell is quickly becoming Australia’s busiest media guy.
Host of The Feed on SBS, radio program Download This Show, and the ABC podcast Stuff the British Stole, it’s surprising that he’s found any time to pick up a new role as quizmaster on the new season of Mastermind on SBS. If you’ve never heard of the show – which has been on air since 1972 in the UK – it’s a fairly classic quiz format.
As Marc told Hope Breakfast, the show was first created from an interesting point of inspiration.
“If you’ve ever seen it, it’s a very serious show, and there’s a good reason for that. The guy who created it, he was interrogated by the Gestapo [during World War II],” Marc said.
“And of course he did what anyone does who was interrogated by the Gestapo would do: he built it into a quiz show. So that’s where the serious spotlight comes from, the dark room – it’s all grown from his experience.”
Marc is picking up the reins from previous quizmaster Jennifer Byrne, and says that what he adores about his new gig is seeing contestants’ passion for their specialist topics.
“When the person comes out, and they sit in the chair, and they bring a specialist subject that they’re quizzed on, it’s the thing they love more than anything.
“There’s this idea out there that being a nerd is a pejorative term – we aren’t supposed to like being nerds. But I have a theory that everybody is a nerd about something.
“What I love about this show, is that they’re rocking up and presenting you with ‘this is that thing that I reckon I know better than anyone’, and then the light’s on and we test just how much they love that thing!’
Mastermind airs weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Listen to the full chat with Marc Fennell in the player above.