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Rachael Neiman takes the hot seat once more. Photo: BBC

Manchester mastermind falls short of final

A PhD student at the University of Manchester had an impressive showing in the semi-finals of Mastermind last week.

Rachael Neiman, who is totally blind, answered questions on her specialist subject, the work of Victorian lesbian novelist Sarah Waters.

Her impressive knowledge paid off with a score of 20 points, meaning Rachael finished second.

Rachael was narrowly beaten to the top spot – her biggest competition, company director Andrew Frasier, scored just one more point. He answered questions on 19th Century German statesman Otto van Bismarck.

Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of two, and partially sighted throughout her childhood before becoming totally blind in her teenage years, Rachael also runs her own record label, Cherryade Records.

Rachael, who studies English and American Studies, found herself in the semi-finals after scoring 33 points during her first appearance on the show, answering questions about John Peel’s Festive Fifty.

Rachael’s performance on the show reflected her laid-back attitude towards the experience. Speaking to The Mancunion after her first appearance on the show, Rachael explained that “there’s nothing you can do once you’re in the chair.”

“Once you’re there you have to get on with it,” she continued.

After her narrow loss on the show, Rachael may now be able to concentrate on other things, although she does say she is “a bit addicted” to quizzing.

“I might try and get my thesis polished up, too,” she said.

Tags: bbc, contestant, mastermind, quiz show, rachael neiman, sarah waters

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