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I've started so I'll finish - St Paul's questions answered with aplomb on BBC Mastermind

A series of questions all about St Paul's were answered with apparent ease as the Cathedral made its debut as a specialist subject on the BBC's Mastermind.
 
Marketing manager Gareth Kingston, took to the famous black chair for the first episode in the new series of the long-running television quiz (8 August) and gave a virtually faultless performance in his first round.
 
After two minutes of tough questioning by John Humphrys, Gareth scored 16 points, only getting one question wrong.
 

This meant he tied for the lead going into the general knowledge round, where he was just pipped by another competitor. He will now have to wait to see if he qualifies for the semi-final as a high-scoring runner-up.

Far from being a new face to Mastermind, this is Gareth's third appearance on the show, but answering questions about St Paul's has been a long-time coming.

On his last Mastermind outing, Gareth made it through to the semi-final where he was narrowly beaten. He was invited to be the reserve for the grand final and chose St Paul's as his specialist subject. However, he didn't appear in the final and the St Paul's questions, although prepared, were never used.

Hours of research, including numerous visits to the Cathedral had seemingly been in vain.

So, four years later it was a great surprise when he received an unexpected call. Gareth recalls: "This spring I was called by Mastermind. They still had the questions that had been set for me, and asked if I would come back on the show. I hadn't intended to return to the show so soon, but they were unable to reserve the questions for much longer and I didn't want the work I'd done to go to waste. So I re-read my books (and some new ones). I bought myself an entrance ticket to the Cathedral, grateful that it meant I could return as often as I wanted, and I visited the Cathedral six or seven more times over the following couple of months. I went into even more detail than before, noting down every memorial and every minor detail about the Cathedral that I could. I gave myself guided tours, recalling facts about every facet of the building that would come to mind.

"By June, when I headed to Media City at Salford Quays to record my show I felt pretty confident that I knew my subject. I had prepared over 500 potential questions and gone over them many many times. I had visited the Cathedral and spoken to some fascinating people. The black chair can do funny things to you, but I knew I was as prepared as I could be."

But why the interest in St Paul's?

Gareth continues: "When I started working in London in 2001 I worked for a charity that had its offices right next to the Cathedral in Dean's Court. Looking out over the steps of St Paul's I was able to witness much of the life and pageantry at St Paul's and also more sombre occasions such as the 9/11 memorial. We moved out when the building was redeveloped and moved into New London Bridge house, which gave spectacular views of the City and especially St Paul's. So I fell in love with the City's most iconic building but curiously didn't go inside it until quite some time later.

"When I first went on Mastermind in 2008 my first-round specialist subject was the Great Fire of London. Naturally, part of learning about the subject was learning about the destruction of the old St Paul's and the building of the new Cathedral. It was at that point that I became fascinated with St Paul's and went inside for the first time."

The rest, it seems, is history. We wish Gareth all the very best of luck for making it to the semi-final.