Masterteam (2)



Peter Snow


BBC Radio 4, 7 May 2001 to 27 February 2006 (5 series)


After Mastermind returned to the television in 2001, Radio 4 was left with a hole in the annual rotation of quizzes, and a perfectly good presenter without a format. Masterteam was the result, a competition for teams of three.

The opening round consists of questions on the buzzer, with no conferring, and the first to ten points wins the round.

Round 2 is for one member of each team, and they must answer questions on one of twenty subjects. The subjects for both teams are chosen by the team that won round 1. They pick from parallel lists - one for "Round 1 winners" and another for "Round 1 losers". Once used during the series, these subjects are eliminated from play and won't be replaced until the final. The round itself is two minutes of questions, with passes or incorrect answers dealt with before moving on.

Image:Snow peter masterteam.jpgThe right kind of Snow

The third and final round takes up roughly half the broadcast. Teams are asked a question with a single answer, worth one point. They can elect to go for a second question, requiring two answers, and worth two points. Three, four, and five point questions - requiring more answers - are also available. If the team should answer incorrectly, they lose all the points on that turn.

This led to conservative play and staid radio, so a safety net was introduced from the third, 2003-4 series. Answer the three-point question correctly, and the six points scored so far are safe.

Six teams play in each series, and they each play four of their opponents during a 12-week "league" phase. The two teams with the highest scores, irrespective of wins, meet in the winner-takes-all final.


  • 2001 - Oxford (David Stainer, Ian Bayley, David Brewis).
  • 2002 - Batley - The Cellar Men (Ian Sutton, Stewart McCartney, Ebb Saxton).
  • 2003-4 - Manchester - Once Upon A Time in the North-West (Teresa Bishop, Stephen Pearson, Nick Mills).
  • 2004-5 - Staffordshire - The Dunces of Denstone (David Edwards, Liz Banks, Graham Richards).
  • 2005-6 - Leeds - Millionaires (former Millionaire contestants: Diane Hallagan, Barry Simmons, Lee Warburton).


"Do you want to go on? It's really easy..."


Collectively devised by the production team who made the radio version of Mastermind.

Theme music

The theme - based on a sweeping string scale - is Pandora II composed by Paul Hart and David Arnold, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.


The specialist subjects in round 2 for the 2005-6 series were:

  • Art and Artists
  • British Isles
  • Buildings of the World
  • Cinema
  • Classical Music
  • Crime and Criminals
  • Exploration and Discovery
  • Folklore and Mythology
  • Food and Drink
  • Gardening
  • Literature
  • Natural World
  • Politics and Current Affairs
  • Popular Music
  • Radio, Television and the Media
  • Religion and Scripture
  • Science and Inventions
  • Sport
  • Warfare and Military History
  • World Geography

The 2001 champion side from Oxford would all go on to win a series of television's Only Connect - David Stainer and Ian Bayley formed two-thirds of the Crossworders in 2008, David Brewis took the title as one of the Epicureans in 2010.

Web links

Radio 4 page

See also

Masterteam - the unrelated television quiz of the same name, hosted by Angela Rippon.


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