'Mastermind' and 'Millionaire' winner takes on Europe

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Pat Gibson, a computer programmer from Wigan, Greater Manchester, was locked in competition with some of the continent's finest trivia brains yesterday - the day after his triumph in one of the tightest contests in the history of the BBC quiz show was screened.

Mr Gibson, having taken the top prize on ITV's Millionaire in April last year, won the crystal bowl Mastermind trophy after scoring 31 points on general knowledge and his specialist subject, the television comedy series Father Ted. He beat a lecturer, a writer, an accountant, a translator and a sterile services technician to win by three points.

Mr Gibson, a member of the North-west quiz league and his employer's quiz team, progressed to the Mastermind finals with specialist subjects on Quentin Tarantino films and the novels of Iain M Banks.

He is only the second person to win both titles, although the first, David Edwards, a retired teacher from Staffordshire, started with Mastermind and did not win Millionaire until 10 years later.

Mr Gibson said: "There is the honour and prestige that goes with winning Mastermind, but they are quite different programmes. There is loads of time pressure in Mastermind, and loads of financial pressure in Millionaire. I certainly feel as proud as last time. They present different challenges, but it is very satisfying to have won both of them." Prevented by the rules from taking part on either show again, Mr Gibson appears reluctant to bid for a hat-trick by facing Anne Robinson in The Weakest Link.

Mr Gibson, originally from Ireland, moved to England to work for Totesport, the government-owned betting company, and settled in Wigan with his wife and two children. Since winning Millionaire he has gone part time but has changed his lifestyle little. "There are no horses, boats or mistresses," he said.

He became the fourth person to win the top prize in Millionaire after correctly identifying the Arlington Million as a race that is not part of the American Triple Crown. He used the "phone a friend" option to check the answer with Mark Kerr. Six weeks earlier Mr Gibson had helped Mr Kerr win £250,000 on the show as his phone-a-friend option.

Paul Petrie, spokesman for Totesport, said that since winning Mastermind, which was recorded in July, Mr Gibson would be handicapped for the company quiz. "We'll have to start him off at minus 20 points so as not to put everyone else off."

Mr Gibson's wife, Shelagh, said: "He's soaked in general knowledge, and remembers the quirky things. He reads the papers every day and has atlases and pokes around the internet."

Asked whether it has taken over their marriage she said: "He is a member of three quiz leagues which means I lose him three nights a week. But it's his way of relaxing after work."