John Humphrys quits as host of Mastermind after 18 years

John Humphrys is to step down as host of Mastermind after 18 years.


The broadcaster has announced that his time on the show will end in March following the end of the latest celebrity series.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: “When the present series comes to an end in March there will be someone else in the chair.”

Humphrys added: “I started 18 years ago — a very long time in the ephemeral world of showbiz. Now, after more than 750 shows, it really is time to finish.”

The presenter, who first hosted the show in 2003, went on to reveal he doesn’t know who his replacement will be.

“I wish my successor well, but I’m not sure I envy them, whoever ‘they’ may be,” he said.

Humphrys also shared how he originally turned down hosting the show, thinking he was being asked to take part as a contestant.


“When I was first approached to do the show, I replied immediately: ‘Thanks but no thanks.’ A few days later I got another message. Same request. Same reply. Then a phone call from the boss. ‘Why won’t you present Mastermind?'” he recalled. “What? Present it?

“I had assumed they wanted me to be a contender and nothing could have persuaded me to sit in that black chair. Not then, not now, not ever.”

Mastermind originally aired on the BBC between 1972 and 1997, hosted by Magnus Magnusson, before moving to Radio 4 with Peter Snow.

Clive Anderson hosted a TV revival on the Discovery Channel in 2002 before it returned to the BBC with Humphrys.

For now Celebrity Mastermind continues tonight (6 February) with its latest celebrity special.

Four more famous faces brave the black chair in another episode of the classic quiz, donating to their chosen charities.

TV property expert Martin Roberts, author and TV presenter Fern Britton, actress and singer Victoria Ekanoye and TV presenter Arthur Williams are in the spotlight tonight, answering questions on Thunderbirds, Mary of Teck, Pretty Woman and British military aircraft of the Second World War.


You’ll be able to watch episodes online and catch up via the BBC iPlayer here.

Picture: BBC