A HELENSBURGH teacher put her knowledge of an iconic 90s TV series to the test on a national quiz show recently.

Marianne McKillop, who lives in the Burgh and has been teaching English for the Glasgow-based Kip McGrath tutoring agency for the past 18 months, appeared on the BBC’s classic quiz Mastermind earlier this year, and the episode was aired on BBC Two on Monday, October 18.

With two rounds of questions and no money at stake, the prize for the brainy contestants is a sought-after glass bowl and a huge amount of personal pride - and Marianne proved she can handle the heat under the spotlight by progressing to the semi finals.

Answering questions on her chosen specialist subject - American drama Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar - Marianne turned in a composed performance in the famous black chair to come out on top against three rivals.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Marianne McKillop’s specialist subject was the TV show Buffy the Vampire SlayerMarianne McKillop’s specialist subject was the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Marianne told the Advertiser, “but we do enjoy sitting down in the living room and watching University Challenge and Mastermind on television.

“My husband suggested I should apply. After watching a few episodes he said I should go on and I said ‘no way!’.

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“It was a really enjoyable experience.

“You have to choose several specialist subjects, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of my favourite shows when I was at university. My daughter and I both love it because it has a really strong, funny, female lead.

“My daughter, Catriona, is 12 and she was quite entertained by me appearing on it. As we were watching it, after every question I answered she would pat me on the back and say ‘well done’.”

Marianne was among more than 3,000 applicants for the latest season, with 96 successful contestants facing off in 24 heats.

Helensburgh Advertiser: Clive Myrie is the current host of the showClive Myrie is the current host of the show

Filmed in Belfast during the summer, the outcome of her episode was a tightly kept secret - until last week. And she will appear in the hot seat before host, Clive Myrie, again at some point in the New Year hoping to progress all the way to the final.

Marianne said: “I couldn’t say anything about the results, so it was tricky keeping it quiet for months but it was worth it.

“I wouldn’t say I’m confident about winning the whole thing but that would be lovely.

“General knowledge is a complete lucky dip, so I’ll just have to study hard and keep my fingers crossed.

“My next specialist subject is based on a lifetime love of ancient history - but that’s all I can say for now.

“Once you’re in there it’s just a case of enjoying it. I’ve been a musician all my life, so it was kind of a familiar feeling, like performing in a theatre.”