Jonathan Gibson: who is youngest ever Mastermind winner from Glasgow - and was he on University Challenge?

The student, who is studying a PhD at the University of St Andrews, won the 2021 quiz show with his specialist subject on Flanders and Swann
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Jonathan Gibson, 24, was crowned champion after winning the quiz show’s grand final by four points, scoring a perfect 11 out of 11 in his specialist subject on the musical comedy duo Flanders and Swann.

He knocked the previous youngest ever champion Gavin Fuller, who was also 24 when he won in 1993, out of record books. Gibson is younger than Fuller by just 90 days.

Jonathan Gibson after he became the youngest person to win BBC's Mastermind (PA Media)Jonathan Gibson after he became the youngest person to win BBC's Mastermind (PA Media)
Jonathan Gibson after he became the youngest person to win BBC's Mastermind (PA Media)

His history-making win came as host John Humphrys marked his final episode on the show after 18 years, before he is replaced by BBC journalist Clive Myrie.

Mastermind is still popular with viewers after launching in 1972, thanks to its iconic black chair and contestants being asked difficult questions in an interrogation-style setting.

So, who is Jonathan Gibson?

Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Jonathan Gibson?

Gibson is currently studying a PhD in modern history at the University of St Andrews.

He has been interested in quiz shows from a young age, growing up watching Junior Mastermind and The Weakest Link.

At 12-years-old, Gibson became a competitive quizzer as part of the Schools’ Challenge tournament.

Despite being from Glasgow, the student lacks a Glaswegian accent, explaining on his introductory clip on the show that he has a “very confusing accent”.

"No-one in my family understands why I speak like this,” he told cameras.

"Family legend has it I had an audiobook of Stephen Fry reading Winnie-the-Pooh when I was two.”

The student has 18 months left to work on his PhD, and plans to pursue a career in academia while entering other quiz shows.

What was his Mastermind performance like?

During the show, Gibson impressed viewers with his in-depth general knowledge and perfect specialist subject score.

The choice of Flanders and Swann may seem like an unusual specialist subject choice for a 24-year-old, since the songwriting duo’s partnership ended many years before Gibson was even born.

But he said his father had introduced him to them and he had been a fan all his life, knowing the lyrics to every single 1950s comedy song and even performing them for his music class when he was seven.

The Mastermind champion also specialised in Agatha Christie’s Poirot in the heat and William Pitt the Younger in the semi-final - two subjects he has also loved since he was young.

Gibson told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland that he was shown the TV show Poirot by his mother and grandmother, while William Pitt the Younger - the late 18th century Prime Minister - was inspired by a book his history teacher had given him in school.

When it came to the general knowledge round, Gibson gained 17 points and took no passes.

His incredible performance led to his crowning as the youngest ever Mastermind champion.

When was he on University Challenge?

Mastermind fans may have recognised Gibson from his stint on BBC student quiz show University Challenge.

In 2017, he captained the Magdalen College, Oxford team on the show, making it to the second round.

Social media users at the time went wild for Gibson’s fierce concentration when he was thinking of his answers.

Some Twitter users had speculated whether he had too much energy drink before going in front of the camera, while others commented on his warm-looking turtleneck he chose to wear for the occasion.

Speaking about his appearance on University Challenge, Gibson told The Telegraph: “I possibly would have liked to do a bit better on University Challenge than I did, but hopefully I’ve redeemed myself with this.”