The BBC newsreader takes over the venerable quiz show next week. He discusses fighting for viewers, dealing with online abuse – and making his parents proud

There is one correct way to start an interview with the new host of Mastermind: turn the tables on him – put him in the chair, under the spotlight. He hasn’t prepared a specialist subject, though, so I pick one for him, an easy one: the life and work of Clive Myrie, gleaned from previous interviews and the internet. There may be errors, but I can accept only the answer on the card. It will lead to topics for discussion. He is up for it, he says, although his face says: “WTF?”

The setting – a meeting room at the BBC’s New Broadcasting House – isn’t perfect. The lighting is all wrong. There are chairs, but not the chair. At least I can play the theme on my phone. Bam baba bam, bam baba bam, da da

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