West Leeds: TV hot seat quiz queen competes in Mastermind final

Diane Hallagan.
Diane Hallagan.
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Leeds quiz queen Diane Hallagan could be TV’s Mastermind champion – after being thrown a show lifeline.

Diane was eliminated in her qualifying heat but was allowed to return to the hit BBC1 show as a highest-scoring loser.

She won her semi-final round by some distance and has now competed in the final.

Viewers can see how she gets on in the big black chair on April 15.

The programme has already been recorded but Diane is keeping the end result a closely-guarded secret.

She was one of two women who faced four men for the prestigious title of Mastermind 2011.

“It is the biggest award in quizzing,” she said. “I took part five years ago and reached the semi-final then.

“This time the producers spotted me at a quiz event and invited me to take part again.

“Women are in demand for the show because only about a quarter of the contestants are female.

“I think that’s partly because we are not as competitive as men.”

Diane, a former pupil at the old Morley Grammar School, chose three specialist subjects – the books of Peter Tinniswood, the Channel 4 sit-com Black Books, and the great ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn.

“The producers asked me to do them in that order,” she said. “Unfortunately, Peter Tinniswood was my worst subject of the three.

“I didn’t do as well with him as I hoped and was annoyed with myself. But I got enough general knowledge questions right to become a high-scoring loser.

“In the semi-final, I got 14 points with Black Books and only needed another five points to reach the final and I got a further 10.”

Diane, 56, an accountant, who lives in Bramley, competes in two quiz leagues each week and is a good friend of TV Egghead Barry Simmons, of Roundhay. She is ranked Number 39 among Britain’s quizzers.


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