Kevin Ashman

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Kevin Ashman
Kevin Ashman at the European Quizzing Championship 2011 in Bruges, Belgium
Born (1959-11-02) 2 November 1959 (age 55)
Known for Eggheads and other TV quiz shows

Kevin Ashman (born 2 November 1959[1]) is an English quiz player. He is considered the greatest quizzer in the world [2] and since 2002 has been a professional quizzer; he has been an Egghead since 2003. He has won most of the top-level quiz tournaments in which he has taken part, among them several World and European Championships.[3]

Early career[edit]

Ashman, who comes from Winchester, Hampshire, had his first major television quiz success on Fifteen to One, winning series three in 1989, and returned to win the special 'Millennium Edition' between past champions on New Year's Eve 1999. In 1995 he won Mastermind-show, scoring 41 points with no passes in his heat, which remains a record to this day. His specialist subject on that occasion was the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. He later became the champion after winning the final with the subject Zulu War. The following year he won Brain of Britain, scoring 38 in his semi final, which remains the highest individual score ever made on the show. He then went on to win Brain of Brains (contested between the previous three years' Brains of Britain) and Top Brain (contested every nine years between the previous three Brain of Brains). Ashman also twice won Master Brain, a radio competition for winners and runners-up of Mastermind and Brain of Britain.

He also won Sale of the Century, Screen Test, Quiz Night, Trivial Pursuit and The Great British Quiz.


Question-setter for Brain of Britain[edit]

Between 2002 and 2006 Ashman was the question-setter and arbiter on the Radio 4 quiz show Brain of Britain, working under the pen-name of 'Jorkins' (a name taken from David Copperfield). He was appointed to the position on the death of Ian Gillies, who worked under the pen-name 'Mycroft'. He left when the team was moved to Manchester.


Since 2003 he has competed on the British quiz show Eggheads, teamed up with other quiz champions, in which members of the public pit their wits against them in order to win a cash prize. Alongside his Egghead team mates he also took part in the spin-off show Are You an Egghead? a competition to find further members of the Egghead team resulting in the addition of Barry Simmons in 2008 and Pat Gibson in the second series in 2009. For ten years, Kevin had never incorrectly answered a history category question. This happened for the first time on 6 January 2014 - Series 14, Episode 96 of the programme. Shortly after the first defeat, Jess of the 'High Flyers' from Bristol followed suit in Series 14 Episode 105 on 17 January 2014. Kevin is widely regarded as the strongest of the Eggheads (although in fact, Pat Gibson qualifies for the final round the most often of all the Eggheads, with Kevin coming a close second). However, the Food & Drink category is known to be a weakness for him.

National and international quizzing championships[edit]

Kevin Ashman
Medal record
Competitor for England
British Championships
Gold 2004 Old Trafford Singles
Gold 2005 Altrincham Singles
Gold 2006 Shrewsbury Singles
Silver 2007 Staveley Singles
Silver 2008 Staveley Singles
Silver 2008 Staveley Pairs
Silver 2009 Derby Singles
Silver 2010 Derby Singles
Gold 2011 Lichfield Singles
Silver 2012 Lichfield Singles
Gold 2013 Hilton Singles
Silver 2014 Rothwell Singles
World Championships
Gold 2004 Old Trafford Singles
Gold 2005 Silverstone Singles
Gold 2006 Newport Singles
Silver 2007 Irthlingborough Singles
Gold 2009 Ludlow Singles
Silver 2010 Peterborough Singles
Silver 2011 Lichfield Singles
Bronze 2013 Masham Singles
Bronze 2014 Surrey Singles
European Championships
Gold 2004 Ghent Singles
Gold 2004 Ghent National Team
Gold 2005 Tallinn Singles
Silver 2005 Tallinn National Team
Gold 2006 Paris Singles
Silver 2006 Paris Pairs
Silver 2006 Paris National Team
Gold 2006 Paris Club
Gold 2007 Blackpool National Team
Gold 2008 Oslo Singles
Bronze 2008 Oslo Pairs
Silver 2008 Oslo National Team
Gold 2009 Dordrecht Singles
Bronze 2009 Dordrecht Pairs
Gold 2009 Dordrecht National Team
Gold 2010 Derby Pairs
Gold 2010 Derby National Team
Gold 2011 Bruges Singles
Gold 2011 Bruges Pairs
Gold 2012 Tartu Pairs
Gold 2012 Tartu National Team
Gold 2013 Liverpool Pairs
Gold 2013 Liverpool Club
Gold 2013 Liverpool National Team
Silver 2014 Bucharest Singles
Silver 2014 Bucharest Pairs
Gold 2014 Bucharest National Team

Currently ranked World/European number 1,[4] Ashman has 16 gold, 10 silver and 3 bronze medals from the British, European and World Championships, he has been capped 10 times for the England team, with a record of 7 wins and 3 losses. In addition he has won the British Quiz Championship seven times, as well as many other tournaments. In 2004 he won the World Quizzing Championships individual competition, a tournament organised by the, newly formed, International Quizzing Association (IQA), as well as the European Quizzing Championships (organised by the same group) both individually and for nations, in Gent, Belgium. He followed this up by winning the World Quizzing Championships again in July 2005. He is the first person to retain this title and, for a second year running, he finished ahead of Pat Gibson of Ireland and Nico Pattyn of Belgium. In November 2005 he retained his individual title at the European Quizzing Championships in Tallinn (Estonia). At this event he again captained the England quiz team, this time losing to Belgium in the final. In July 2006 he won the World Quizzing Championships for the third year in succession and followed this in December by again winning the European Quizzing Championships (held near Paris, France). He also won the team title with his team Milhous Warriors, but the English quiz team was once again beaten by the Belgians. In 2007 Ashman lost his World title to Pat Gibson who narrowly beat him into runner-up spot (a position Gibson himself had occupied for four years). He also lost his European title to Nico Pattyn of Belgium, but he took revenge by reconquering the title with the English national team, beating the Belgians in the final at Blackpool. In 2008, in Oslo, this situation was reversed with him being runner up in the team competition but regaining his singles title. In 2009 he regained the World title, the first player ever to do so, when winning for the 4th time. In 2009 he narrowly missed the British title, losing by a point in a tie-break, to 2008 World Champion Mark Bytheway.

Domestic competition/ Quiz leagues[edit]

Ashman is a committed quizzer and has three main teams (excluding the Eggheads team on TV). In the QLL he competes with the Allsorts (alongside former Mastermind winner Gavin Fuller) and has won the league on numerous occasions, in the Winchester Quiz League, organised by Peter Byford, he plays for the King Alfred and in national events he plays for the Milhous Warriors. The Milhous Warriors, most of whom are based in Swindon, England, have often emerged victorious in the team elements of events run by, becoming National Champions at Old Trafford football stadium in 2004 and Silverstone in 2005 as part of those years' UK leg of the World Quizzing Championship event. In 2006 they became the first British team to win the European Team Championship, doing so in Paris. In 2008 they were winners in the final of the Clubs and Institutes (CIU) IDC Freeclaim sponsored national championships.

Personal life[edit]

Ashman became interested in quizzes in his mid-twenties when, having graduated from the University of Southampton with a degree in history, he resolved to improve his knowledge of the sciences.

Before working in radio and TV he worked as a civil servant in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

A keen traveller, he lives in Winchester in Hampshire. It was revealed on Eggheads on 5 October 2009 that Ashman supports Tottenham Hotspur. He also has an interest in folk music and is a keen theatre goer. He was Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness's Phone-A-Friend on 12 January 2008 UK edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?[citation needed]