David Lammy’s unfortunate answers to Celebrity Mastermind in 2009 resurface as he is given new role


When new shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said the 2003 Rose Revolution took place in Yugoslavia and Marie Antoinette won the Nobel Prize: Labour MP’s unfortunate answers to Celebrity Mastermind in 2009 resurface as he is given new role

  • David Lammy MP was promoted this week in Labour’s surprise reshuffle
  • In 2009, he thought Henry VII acceded the throne after the death of Henry VII
  • He also got a football question wrong about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur
  • The MP since 2000 scored just 13, with eight coming from his specialist subject
  • This week, he said he was ‘honoured’ to be the new shadow foreign secretary 


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Labour’s new shadow foreign secretary once thought the 2003 Rose Revolution took place in Yugoslavia and that Marie Antoinette won the Nobel Prize for physics as footage of his appearance on Celebrity Mastermind resurfaced following his promotion.

David Lammy MP, who was given the new role by Sir Keir Starmer this week, provided a number of unfortunate answers when he appeared on the BBC quiz show in 2009.

During a general knowledge round in which he got just five answers right, the MP for Tottenham thought Red Leicester cheese accompanied port and that Henry VII acceded the English throne after the death of Henry VIII. 

Mr Lammy also got a question wrong about his beloved Tottenham Hotspur when he was asked who scored England’s first goal of Fabio Capello’s reign, choosing to go for Aaron Lennon instead of Jermaine Jenas.

But as Labour’s new shadow foreign secretary, his answer in response to a question about the 2003 Rose Revolution will be most concerning.

Presenter John Humphrys asked ‘which country’s so-called “Rose Revolution” of 2003 led to the resignation of its president Eduard Shevardnadze’, to which Mr Lammy responded ‘Yugoslavia’, when the correct answer was in fact Georgia.

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, was this week promoted to shadow foreign secretary during a surprise reshuffle

During a surprise reshuffle on Monday, Starmer promoted a number of prominent centrist figures and demoting his key allies.

Mr Lammy took over the role of shadow foreign secretary from Lisa Nandy who was moved to face off against Michael Gove as shadow secretary for levelling up and communities.

After his promotion, Mr Lammy, who has been an MP since 2000, said: ‘Honoured to be appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs.

‘At a time when Britain is recasting itself on the world stage, I look forward to setting out Labour’s vision for a values-led foreign policy based on cooperation & internationalism.’

But within days of his promotion, his unfortunate appearance on Celebrity Mastermind resurfaced, much to the delight of social media users who labelled it ‘comedy gold’.


Days after his promotion in Labour’s reshuffle, Mr Lammy’s unfortunate appearance on Celebrity Mastermind from 2009 resurfaced

Pictured left next to Sir Keir Starmer, Yvette Cooper and Rachel Reeves, Mr Lammy incorrectly said the 2003 Rose Revolution took place in Yugoslavia

Mr Lammy scored eight points during his specialist subject on boxing legend Muhammad Ali, but could only manage five correct answers during the general knowledge round.

When asked which fortress used to defend the Gates of Paris was later used as a state prison, Mr Lammy said ‘Versailles’ and also thought James Gandolfini appeared in the Godfather rather than the Sopranos. 

He also thought the surname of scientists Marie and Pierre who won the Nobelm Prize for physics in 1903 was Antoinette, rather than Curie.

He also passed on five questions, including one about the name for the highest gallery of seats in a theatre, and the Purple Heart military award given to those who are wounded in action.

But between some of his more memorable incorrect answers, Mr Lammy was able to correctly identify that MI5 was founded in 1909 to counteract the threat of German spies, that William Hague claimed he downed 14 pints of beer a day while working as a delivery man’s assistant, the Coldplay lead singer as Chris Martin, that Oprah Winfrey had other business ventures and that the term penthouse originally meant a shed or out-house.

David Lammy’s unfortunate appearance on Celebrity Mastermind

What was the married name of the scientists Marie and Pierre who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903 for their research into radiation?

Lammy: Antoinette

Answer: Curie

Cockpit Country is a rugged, inaccessible area on which Caribbean island?

Lammy: Pass 

Answer: Jamaica

Which former Conservative leader, in a magazine article in August 2000, claimed that while working as a delivery man’s assistant he downed around 14 pints of beer a day?

Lammy: William Hague (correct) 

Which fortress was built in the 1370s to defend one of the Gates of Paris and was later used as a state prison by Cardinal Richelieu?

Lammy: Versailles

Answer: The Bastille

In February 2008, which Tottenham Hotspur player scored the first goal of Fabio Capello’s reign as England football manager?

Lammy: Aaron Lennon 

Answer: Jermaine Jenas 

James Gandolfini played a Mafia boss called Tony in which American television series?

Lammy: Godfather

Answer: The Sopranos

What name is used for the highest gallery of seats in a theatre?

Lammy: Pass

Answer: The gods   

Which organisation was founded in 1909 as the home section of the Secret Service Bureau to counteract the threat of German spies?

Lammy: MI5 (correct)

Which American military award is given to those who are wounded in action and bears the inscription for military merit on the reverse?

Lammy: Pass

Answer: Purple Heart 

Chris Martin is the lead singer with which award winning British band?

Lammy: Coldplay (correct)

Which variety of blue English cheese traditionally accompanies port?

Lammy: Red Leicester 

Answer: Stilton 

What term for a top floor luxury flat originally meant a shed or out-house?

Lammy: Penthouse (correct)

In 2006, Sandi Toksvig replaced Simon Hoggart as the presenter of which topical Radio 4 quiz show?

Lammy: Pass

Answer: The News Quiz  

Which American chat show host has business ventures including Harpo Productions and Oxygen Media which operates a 24 hour cable television network for women? 

Lammy: Oprah Winfrey (correct)

Who acceded the English throne at the age of 9 on the death of his father Henry VIII in 1547?

Lammy: Henry VII

Answer: Edward VI

In chemistry, what French word is used for a tube for transferring measured amounts of liquids?

Lammy: Pass

Answer: A pipette 

Which country’s so-called ‘Rose Revolution’ of 2003 led to the resignation of its president Eduard Shevardnadze?

Lammy: Yugoslavia

Answer: Georgia  

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