Dumb, dumber, dumbest: film fan is worst ever on 'Mastermind'

For quiz obsessive Simon Curtis, the title of the film Dumb and Dumber, the one starring Jim Carrey, has taken on a whole new meaning. It is the label he has been saddled with after a record-breaking appearance on the television show Mastermind.

That is because Mr Curtis - specialist subject: The films of Jim Carrey - notched up the worst specialist score in the programme's 34-year history, getting just one question correct out of a possible 25. Mr Curtis made a poor start, passing on his first three questions and getting his fourth wrong.

In total, he passed on 12 questions and gave incorrect answers to four - his only success coming in question seven when he correctly said the film for which Carrey signed a record £20m contract was The Cable Guy. Mr Curtis redeemed himself in the general-knowledge round of the semi-final programme, ending up with a final score of eight, just one point above the lowest total on the show, a seven recorded by Colin Kidd in 1995.

Mr Curtis said last night that his performance was probably more due to a lack of preparation, rather than what Mastermind experts call the "pass spiral", where contestants lose concentration after passing on a question to which they know the answer.

A probation service administrative worker from Castleford in West Yorkshire, Mr Curtis, 42, won his first-round heat, when his specialist subject was on the rock group The Jam. He said: "I'm afraid the words 'Dumb and Dumber' have been bandied around quite a lot today. I didn't really expect to win the first round, so I plucked the subject out of thin air."

All but two of the questions, were about plotlines in the films, rather than more general facts about the productions themselves, with which Mr Curtis was more familiar.

Adding, "I'm fed up with all this, but I've started talking to you, so I'll finish", Mr Curtis also pointed out that Jim Carrey was his second choice specialist subject, the first having been vetoed.

There has been sympathy for Mr Curtis, however. John Humphrys, the quizmaster, said: "His mind just went blank. You get people who are immensely knowledgeable and then it won't come. If someone starts well, they'll finish well."

Dr Ken Emond, the editor of the Mastermind Club newsletter and a semi-final contestant himself in 1992, said: "Anybody can freeze in the spotlight. It is the pressure of the moment."

Mastermind began in 1972 as late-night cerebral entertainment although it soon became popular due to its simple-but-gruelling format and made a star of its presenter Magnus Magnusson. Scrapped by the BBC in 1997, it was successfully revived in 2003. The highest score is 41.

Mr Curtis remained sanguine about his brush with fame. Although broadcast on Monday, the programme was recorded in April. "You never know," he said, "the fuss might help me get a place on The Weakest Link."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Guru Careers: Product Design Engineer / UX Designer

£20 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a tech savvy Product Design Engineer /...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor