A BURY doctor was given the perfect tonic to quench his thirst for knowledge — the title of Mastermind champion.

GP Gary Grant, aged 34, beat five other competitors in the grand final of the popular quiz programme which was watched by millions of BBC 2 viewers on Friday.

Occupying the famous black chair and clinching the Mastermind trophy proved the pinnacle for Gary, who has been a serial quizzer for a number of years.

Sheer determination paid off for the Scotsman when he won the prestigious title four years after reaching the semi-final of Mastermind, which has been a television favourite since 1972.

Savouring success, the doctor, who works at the Woodbank surgery in Brandlesholme, said: “I’m just so relieved to have won. My overriding emotion was one of relief that I had achieved my goal.”

Bachelor Gary, of Knowsley Road, Ainsworth, romped home with 35 points, five more than his nearest rival. He scored an impressive 19 points in his specialist subject of “whales, dolphins and porpoises” which he believes could be a record for the grand final since Mastermind returned with John Humphrys as quizmaster.

The GP qualified for the show’s climax after coming through the first round and semi-final when his specialist subjects were “seven wonders of the ancient world” and “the history of the Monaco Grand Prix”.

He said modestly: “There is a lot of luck involved, especially if your opponents get harder questions in the general knowledge round. It was something I just worked at. After reaching Mastermind’s semi-final four years ago, I was really determined to enter again and win it.”

Gary has become a familiar figure in the quiz world in the last four years, having appeared on TV shows including The Weakest Link, Are You An Egghead?, Only Connect and Cleverdicks. He competed locally in quiz competitions and last year was crowned Brain of Bolton at the culmination of the town’s premier quiz league’s 22-week season.

“I did also play for the Scotland national quiz team in Europe-wide competitions. I have literally thousands of books and always have had on every subject going. I’m addicted to buying books.

“Even as a kid, I was always reading in the evenings, so I think the base knowledge came from that. But when I got into “quizzing” I did specifically read up on things that I had no previous interest in, like classical music and film, to try to improve my chances of winning Mastermind.”

Now he is giving up quizzes but hopes to reach a “summit” of a different kind.

“In November next year, I’m going to Argentina to climb the 6,700 metre high Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. I’ve already climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I’ll be trekking to Everest base camp this year in preparation for Aconcagua. I’m aiming to get a competition licence so that I can take part in proper racing driving meetings, though nothing on the level of a Grand Prix or even Formula 3.

“As long as I have a goal to work towards, I’m fine.”