Mastermind moves production to Northern Ireland

The series will relocate from the BBC Studios in Salford as part of production changes.

“We assessed the bids against four criteria and the bid from Hindsight and Hat Trick was the strongest. We liked their idea of Mastermind returning to its roots, in a dramatic and pressurised setting. We’re also delighted that this decision means another BBC show will be made in Northern Ireland.” – Kate Phillips, Controller of Entertainment Commissioning

Mastermind will leave Beeb production for the first time in its history following a joint bid from independent producers Hat Trick and Hindsight who won a competitive tender process to produce the show and its spin-off Celebrity Mastermind.

The programme was previously produced by BBC Studios and the tendering of returning series currently produced by BBC Studios forms part of the Compete Or Compare strategy launched by the BBC in 2014, which underlined the BBC’s commitment to commission the best programmes for audiences, regardless of who makes them.

Following the launch of the tender in September 2018 there has been a fair and transparent tender process, the corporation note, adding that the changes will take place ‘in order to find the best outcome for the BBC’s audiences’.

The Beeb also note that ‘all bids were assessed against four criteria – editorial proposal and capability, value for money, strategic priorities and risk.’ Hindsight and Hat Trick’s bid was considered to be the strongest from a field of eight eligible producers who submitted proposals.

The contract will be for two years from July 2019, and covers 31 episodes of Mastermind and ten episodes of Celebrity Mastermind per year. John Humphrys will continue to present both shows. The programme was previously produced from Salford and will now move to Northern Ireland. The invitation to tender document specified that production remain out of London with a preference for one of the BBC’s established centres for quiz show production in Salford, Scotland or Northern Ireland. The Hat Trick and Hindsight bid was supported by Northern Ireland Screen and will see the programme based, filmed and edited in the UK country.

Mastermind’s 2008 final was produced in Scotland as part of a tribute to the programme’s original host Magnus Magnusson who died the previous year aged 77. Magnus had fronted the original brainy quiz for 25 years, having launched the show in 1972. Other hosts have included Clive Anderson (Discovery Channel) and Peter Snow (BBC Radio). The original series was produced at the BBC Television Centre in London.

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