BBC Studios Australia launches with Mastermind commission

“I’ve started so I’ll finish”

BBC Studios has scored its first commission since setting up a production arm in Australia, with SBS ordering 85 x 30 minute episodes of the TV quiz show Mastermind.

Synonymous with the catchphrase “I’ve started so I’ll finish” and the fearsome, black, spotlighted chair for its contestants, the series was announced by SBS at its Upfronts.

Airing in the UK for over 40 years, Mastermind is the legendary quiz that sets the toughest questions on television. No matter who takes to the iconic black chair, the tension is always immense.

In round one, four contestants have one minute to answer as many questions as possible on their specialist subject. In round two, each contestant has one minute again, this time on general knowledge. The contestant with the highest combined score wins and goes on to compete against other program winners for a place in the grand final.

In the UK, the latest season of this popular long-running series on BBC Two increased its reach. Its success around the world has also seen the show trending on Twitter, as it fires up discussion and engagement.

An Australian version of the show aired on ABC TV 40 years ago where it had a six-year run. The game show was hosted by Huw Evans, who also hosted ABC Radio’s PM program for over a decade.

SBS revealed it will strip the format at 6pm weeknights.

BBC Studios ANZ director of production Kylie Washington secured the commission from Josh Martin, commissioning editor, entertainment at SBS.

Jon Penn, managing director of BBC Studios ANZ, said: “Mastermind is an incredible UK success and a great first commission for Kylie, who set up our production arm just two months ago. We’re excited to bring this globally renowned format, combined with BBC production values, to SBS in 2019.”

Washington said: “We are thrilled to bring this iconic BBC quiz to SBS and can’t wait to find Australia’s smartest mastermind.”

SBS director of TV and online content Marshall Heald said: “Mastermind is the perfect commission to lead the evolution of our 6pm timeslot. Famous for its challenging questions, intimidating setting and air of seriousness, this iconic BBC game show will celebrate Australians’ general knowledge and fierce competitive nature in a fun nightly challenge as they compete for the prestigious title of Australia’s Mastermind. We can’t wait to launch it in 2019.”

Mastermind is a BBC format, produced for SBS by BBC Studios Australia and distributed by BBC Studios. Filming commences in Melbourne in early 2019.

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