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V11.00 09/11/09

Daphne's top of the quiz show brains


Daphne Fowler

IT WAS a clash of the titans of intelligence - a contest to find the Masterbrain of Britain.

And it was clear from the start that Girl Power (well, Woman Power) would win the day.

In the red corner, 58-year-old Anne Ashurst, the 1997 champion of TVs Mastermind.

In the blue comer, weighing in as the current holder of BBC Radio's Brain of Britain quiz, housewife Daphne Fowler, also 58.

But as the questions rolled off quiz-master Robert Robinson's lips, it was Daphne who was soon romping to a 35-to-15 point victory.

"I have an attic of a memory," said Daphne, who has been winning quiz shows for 20 years.

Outside the quiz room she still manages to exert a formidable mind control that always wins the day. Daphne, a mother-of-five from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, will only be photographed with a Anne Ashurstnew hair-do.

And husband Pete, 60, a retired engineer, is not allowed to be pictured. "Please will you not involve him." she states in a hypnotic tone. "He is too shy."

She reckons her encyclopaedic brain comes from the skills learnt as a mother. "We have to be able to do three things at once but I think it was a coincidence this year that women dominated the finals."

A former secretary at NatWest Bank until being replaced by a computer, she is only the third woman ever to win Brain of Britain.

She studied theology at Exeter University but said she is so absentminded she had to write Left and Right on her hands to pass her driving test. Pete, who is her second husband - they met when he hosted a pub quiz - and her four sons all treat her cerebral activities as a joke.

Her daughter Anne, she said, is the only one who reads. "Women are more self-effacing. They tend to read more and it's more acceptable for men to be smart-alecks." she said.

However, despite her brainpower it's her husband who wears the trousers at home. "Honestly, he is the boss." Her opponent Anne, of Wllliton, near Taunton, was only glad there weren't any maths questions. "My teachers begged me to give up maths at 13 because I was hopeless." Like Daphne she is an avid member of a pub quiz team in Somerset.

Could there yet be a rematch?

1. Which Italian city holds an art exhibition every other year known as the 'Bienniale'?
2. The Eden is one of Britain's sizeable northward-flowing rivers. In which county does it reach the sea?
3. Which duke is among Britain's five richest people?
4. In describing a car what does the term OHC mean?
5. The Greek or Turkish dish Baclava is made from flakey pastry, nuts, sugar, spices, butter and what other ingredient?
(Answers below)


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