A woman who lives near Winchester appeared on a long-running BBC quiz show this week.

Alresford resident Lisa von Fircks appeared on Mastermind on January 3. 

Lisa came third in her heat with a total of 18 points after her specialist subject round and a round on general knowledge. Her specialist subject was about the career of well-known poet Pam Ayres.

The winner of the heat finished with a total of 30 points which host Clive Myrie described as “colossal”. 

She made it through three rounds of audition questions to become a contender in the classic quiz show. With its menacing theme tune, glaring spotlight and quick-fire questions, it is widely regarded as the toughest quiz on British television. 

Reflecting on the experience, Lisa said: “The format of the programme was designed to intimidate, and I can vouch that it certainly does. There is no rehearsal or warm-up and when that familiar, dramatic music starts up, so do the nerves. The new host, Clive Myrie, was very calming though. 

“Mastermind has been running since I was a toddler. Having grown up with it and been an avid viewer all these years it felt thrilling to now actually take part. I’m delighted to have sat in the iconic black chair and to have contributed to this much-loved programme.”

Lisa, a former Alton College student, is now a wedding celebrant; writing and conducting personalised ceremonies for couples getting married in and around Hampshire. 

First broadcast in 1972, the programme celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, making it one of television’s most enduring successes. To appear on the prestigious show is an ambition of many quiz-lovers. 

Thousands applied for a place in this year’s heats, which are recorded at BBC TV studios in Belfast. The episode is available to watch on BBC Iplayer.