In March 1993, Doctor Who had been off-air for over three years. Paul McGann wouldn’t become the Doctor for another three, and it would be a further nine until Christopher Eccleston’s first appearance in the TARDIS. The fans though, were keeping the show alive – fans such as Gavin Fuller, who chose it as his specialist subject in BBC One quiz Mastermind.
Fuller scored an impressive 16 points in his two minutes on Doctor Who, and increased that to a total of 29 after the General Knowledge round. He won the episode and went on to become the 1993 series champion, answering questions on the Crusades and the Medieval Castle in the British Isles as his two other specialist subjects.
When the BBC recruited four Doctor Who trivia fans for a special Mastermind episode in 2005 to coincide with the show’s revival, Fuller – who had since become head of The Telegraph’s reference library and went on to write about Doctor Who for the newspaper – helped to set the questions (his own questions in 1993 were set by former Who executive producer John Nathan-Turner).
Incidentally the 2005 Mastermind special, which was broadcast on the 19th of March, a week before Doctor Who’s return, is a curio worth watching for Christopher Eccleston’s appearance. Brought on at the end to present the winner’s prize, presenter John Humphrys introduces Eccleston by name before adding “Or should I say, Doctor Who?” Eccleston responds, “You can for now, you can for now.” He then tells Humphrys that the long hours mean the show “really takes over your life”. “And will continue to do so,” replies Humphrys. “Yeah, we’ll see,” says Eccleston, non-committedly. We did see, three weeks later, when the BBC released a statement announcing Eccleston was leaving the role. Hindsight is 20-20.
Test your Classic Who knowledge on Fuller’s questions below, and see below the video to check your answers. 16 out of 18 with two passes is Fuller’s score to beat.
1. The Doctor’s travelling machine is called a TARDIS, what’s that an acronym of?
2. The first Doctor Who adventure ‘An Unearthly Child’ was set in two ages – the 1960s and which other?
3. Which 12-part Doctor Who adventure in the 1960s did a special Christmas story in the middle of the main plot?
4. Which actress played the gun-toting Captain Briggs in ‘Earthshock’ in 1982?
5. In which 1979 Doctor Who story did the Black Guardian, played by Valentine Dyall, first appear?
6. In ‘Vengeance on Varos’ the Doctor visited the evil planet Varos to obtain which valuable commodity used by the TARDIS?
7. In 1967 two consecutive stories featured Gatwick Airport, one was ‘The Faceless Ones’, which was the other?
8. In ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ which war criminal headed the murderous Tong of the Black Scorpion which stalked Victorian London?
9. From which village in Sussex did the Seventh Doctor’s Companion Melanie Bush hail?
10. Which author of ‘Brain of Morbius’ used the pen name Robin Bland?
11. In which story did Doctor Who have an unwitting romance with an elderly lady called Cameca?
12. What was the title shared by the last episode of ‘The Romans’ and the final story of Jon Pertwee’s first season?
13. Which story from the Pertwee era with a scene of Chinese dialogue was the only Doctor Who story to use English subtitles?*
14. In ‘Logopolis’, what was the fate of Aunt Vanessa?
15. In ‘Terror of the Zygons’, which legendary monster appears as a Skarasen?
16. In ‘The Leisure Hive’, the monsters were called Foamasi which is said is a deliberate anagram of what?
17. What was the title of the 100th Doctor Who story shown in 1978?
18. In ‘The Gunfighters’ four-parter in 1966, three episodes were called ‘A Holiday for the Doctor’, ‘Johnny Ringo’ and ‘The OK Corral’, what was the other one?
1. Time and Relative Dimension(s) in Space
2. ‘The Stone Age’
3. ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan’
4. Beryl Reid
5. Armageddon Factor
7. ‘Evil of the Daleks’
8. Magnus Greel
9. Pease Pottage
10. Terrance Dicks
11. ‘The Aztecs’
13. ‘Mind of Evil’*
14. Shrunk/murdered by the Master
15. The Loch Ness Monster
17. ‘Stones of Blood’
18. ‘Don’t Shoot the Pianist’
*Apparently English-language subtitles are also used in ‘The Curse of Fenric’ so give yourself a bonus point if you said that too.
Mastermind returns to BBC One with new host Clive Marie on Monday the 23rd of August.