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Oi! Think you know the Sex Pistols better that this Mastermind contestant? Prove it

Pistols
(Image credit: John Mead/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

After months of hype and a bitter court case which pitted John Lydon versus former bandmates Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock, Danny Boyle's much-anticipated, and mildly-controversial, Sex Pistols drama Pistol is set to air tomorrow, May 31, on Hulu (opens in new tab)/Disney+ (opens in new tab).

Tedious debates as to exactly how "authentic" and/or "punk rock" said TV show is will doubtless follow, so that's [sarcasm font activated] something else to look forward to. 

Ahead of these inevitable spittle-flecked punk rock ding dongs, then, we're going to take a little trip back in time to this day in 1996 when one Alan Whitaker, an unemployed gent from Penzance, Cornwall, held British TV viewers enrapt for 120 seconds when he faced iconic TV quiz-master Magnus Magnusson to answer Pistols trivia after choosing 'The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock' as his specialist subject on the hugely popular BBC TV show Mastermind.

Fielding questions such as 'At which London venue did the Sex Pistols give their first public performance in November 1975?' and 'Who produced the Sex Pistols' first studio session in May 1976?', Mr Whitaker did rather well, racking up 17 correct answers to the 18 questions posed by the UK's favourite Icelandic import.

Think you could do better? Prove it.

Watch the archive BBC footage below:

Back in the present day, the six-part Pistol is based around guitarist Steve Jones’ acclaimed 2018 memoir Lonely Boy and charts the rise and fall of the London punk icons. It stars Toby Wallace as Jones, Anson Boon as Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon), Louis Partridge as bassist Sid Vicious, and Jacob Slater as drummer Paul Cook. 

Pistol had its global red carpet premiere at the Odeon Luxe at London’s Leicester Square last Monday, May 23.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.