Alice Walker: who is BBC Mastermind winner, 2022 final specialist subject, all questions - can you beat her?

Walker took home the trophy at the age of 66 with a specialist round on the Peak District - but how would you fare?

A veteran quizzer has become the oldest female Mastermind champion to triumph on the long-running trivia show at the age of 66.

Alice Walker won by six points in the Grand Final – scoring a perfect 14 out of 14 in her specialist subject on the Peak District National Park.

Walker - who was 66 at the time of the show’s recording but has since celebrated her 67th birthday - achieved the highest score of the whole series, finishing with a total of 33.

Her win marks the 50th anniversary of the show, which first aired in 197, and the end of BBC news journalist Clive Myrie’s first series as host of the quiz show.

But just who is Walker, and could you have fared even better on the show?

Here is everything you need to know, plus all of the questions she was asked as part of the Grand Final - and their answers of course!

Who is Alice Walker?

Walker is a retired IT consultant from Derbyshire, who told the PA news agency she chose to answer questions about the Peak District because she walks her dog in the area.

“I live on the edge of the Peak District,” she said, “it is an area I visit quite a lot because I like walking.

“I just thought it would make an interesting subject because there is quite a variety to know about it, as well as the geographical aspect, there is a lot of history and geology.

“I think originally I thought you had to know a lot about your specialist subject before you applied and I used to think I don’t know enough about anything, but then I realised people just picked a subject that they’re interested in and learn up about it, so that’s what I did.

“I had various books on the Peak District that I studied for quite a long time.”

English journalist Clive Myrie, Mastermind presenter. (Pic credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP via Getty Images)English journalist Clive Myrie, Mastermind presenter. (Pic credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP via Getty Images)
English journalist Clive Myrie, Mastermind presenter. (Pic credit: Charly Triballeau / AFP via Getty Images)

Despite her confidence in her specialist subject, Walker admitted she “didn’t prepare” for the general knowledge round, adding she does “quite a lot of quizzes all the time anyway”, so is “in the zone of answering quiz questions.”

On the show, her partner Haydn said Walker spends “hours” reading all the books on her specialist subject, making notes and testing herself.

“I have tried testing her from her notes but she just knows it all so it’s a bit pointless really,” they said.

Similarly, her daughter Laura said her mother had “waited a long time” to appear on the show and it was “her time” to win.

Walker’s other specialist subjects throughout the competition were Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals in the heat and Julia Margaret Cameron in the semi-final, in which she also received a perfect score.

What was she asked?

Walker achieved a perfect score in her specialist subject and dropped just three points on general knowledge, but could YOU have taken home the coveted Mastermind trophy?

Here are all the questions Walker was asked on the night:

Specialist Subject (The Peak District National Park)*

  1. A traditional almond and jam pudding is named after which town known as the unofficial capital of the Peak District?
  2. In the mid-18th century which landscape architect was commissioned to redesign the gardens at Chatsworth House?
  3. In the late 1920s, in which former lead mining village near Eyam did the writer Lawrence du Garde Peach form what later became a highly regarded amateur dramatic troop?
  4. What name is given to the jagged gritstone outcrops north of Leek in the Staffordshire Peak District which form an escarpment with nearby Ramshaw Rocks and Hen Cloud?
  5. In 1941, an errant German bomb caused significant damage to St Michael and All Angels Church in which village near Buxton?
  6. What Neolithic stone circle located on moorland near Monyash, is sometimes referred to as the ‘Stonehenge of the North’?
  7. In his work Fors Clavigera, the writer John Ruskin harshly criticised the construction of the Headstone Railway Viaduct in which Peak District valley?
  8. What was the full name of the British designer and manufacturer who established a cutlery factory and design museum in the village of Hathersage?
  9. Which peak, the second highest point in Derbyshire, has been described as one of Britain’s only true deserts because of its expanse of virtually featureless moorland?
  10. What was the name of the fort constructed by the Romans near the modern day village of Brough in the Hope Valley?
  11. Which village between Leek and Buxton claims to be the highest in Britain at more than 1500 feet above sea level?
  12. The ruined castle that stands above the town of Castleton is named after which Norman Knight and Keeper of the Royal Forest?
  13. What was the name of the temporary village of corrugated iron shacks nicknamed Tin Town that was built to house the workers and their families hen the Howden and Derwent dams were constructed in the early 1900s?
  14. The designer and architect Sir Joseph Paxton and John F. Kennedy’s sister Kathleen are among those buried at the St Peter’s churchyard in which village on the Chatsworth estate?

General Knowledge*

  1. The numbers used to complete a standard sudoku grid range from one to what number?
  2. Amman is the capital city of which Middle Eastern country?
  3. Schnecke, which translates literally as naked snail, is the German word for what creature?
  4. The loganberry is thought to have been created by crossing blackberries with what other fruit?
  5. Which tennis player won a record 20th grand slam men’s single title by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final of the 2021 championships?
  6. Ping, Pang and Pong are characters in which opera by Puccini premiered in 1926?
  7. Who became the ruler of Russia in 1762, after her husband Peter III, was forced to abdicate?
  8. What was the first name of Fred Astaire’s elder sister, who was his professional dancing partner in several Broadway stage shows from 1917 to 1931?
  9. In terms of population, which is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand?
  10. A competition called The Hundred involving teams such as Oval Invincibles, Welsh Fire and Northern Superchargers was launched in 2021 in which sport?
  11. The 2017 book My Life, Our Times is a memoir by which former UK Prime Minister?
  12. Who became the lead singer of the British pop and soul band Simply Red when it was formed in Manchester in the 1980s?
  13. Which small city near Cambridge is known for its cathedral, sometimes called the Ship of the Fens, which has a central structure known as the Octagon?
  14. What word follows rough, smooth, bearded and border in the names of four dog breeds?
  15. A cup-shaped structure called a Bowman’s capsule is a feature of which pair of organs in the human body?
  16. Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba are major technology companies headquartered in which Asian country?
  17. In the Avengers films released between 2011 and 2019, which British actor plays the character Loki, the God of Mischief?
  18. What Japanese word meaning ‘harbour wave’ is used in English for a swiftly travelling, destructive wave often caused by an underwater earthquake?
  19. The abbreviation ESP for the supposed ability to be aware of things without using the basic senses stands for extra sensory what?
  20. Which clockmaker born in Yorkshire in 1693, is credited with the invention of the marine chronometer, a device that allows accurate timekeeping while at sea?
  21. In the late 1930s, which Spanish artist created a sofa modelled on the lips of the actress Mae West in collaboration with his patron Edward James?
  22. The legendary North American creature often called Big Foot, is also known by what other name, a Salishan word meaning ‘wild man of the woods’?

*Check your answers at the bottom of this article

Has she been on any other quizzes?

Walker said she has “loved quizzes” since a young age and began taking it seriously in the early 80s when she joined the Macclesfield quiz league.

She has previously taken part in BBC’s Eggheads, The Chase on ITV and Channel 4 quiz show Fifteen To One before plucking up the courage to compete in Mastermind.

She told the PA news agency: “The Chase was an absolute disaster from start to finish, it was just really bad but it didn’t put me off from competing in Mastermind.

“Eggheads wasn’t too bad, we still didn’t win, I was left on my own after all my team-mates got knocked out.

“Somebody I know reached the semi-final last year and I just thought let’s just go for it, bite the bullet and apply, I never for one moment expected to win,” she added.

Who was the previous oldest winner?

Walker said getting to the final “completely exceeded” her expectations, and exclaimed “Oh my God” when she realised she had won.

“I wanted to apply before I got any older because as you get older your mind doesn’t work so quickly,” she said, “but I feel that I am still quite sharp with my mind.”

The previous oldest female winner was Isabelle Heward, who finally took the title at her fourth attempt at the age of 61 in 2017.

Walker’s win follows 2021 champion Jonathan Gibson, a PhD student from Glasgow, who became the youngest person to win the show last year aged 24.

Question Answers

Specialist Subject (The Peak District National Park)

  1. Bakewell
  2. Capability Brown
  3. Great Hucklow
  4. The Roaches
  5. Earl Sterndale
  6. Arbor Low
  7. Monsal Dale
  8. David Mellor
  9. Bleaklow
  10. Navio
  11. Flash
  12. William de Peverel
  13. Birchinlee
  14. Edensor

General Knowledge

  1. Nine
  2. Jordan
  3. Slug
  4. Raspberry
  5. Djokovic
  6. Turandot
  7. Catherine the Great
  8. Adele
  9. Christchurch
  10. Cricket
  11. Cameron
  12. Mick Hucknall
  13. Ely
  14. Collie
  15. The kidneys
  16. China
  17. Tom Hiddleston
  18. Tsunami
  19. Perception
  20. Harrison
  21. Dali
  22. Sasquatch