The TV quiz show Mastermind will be back on New Zealand screens next month - and Whanganui's own former champion is looking forward to its return.

Hamish McDouall was 20 and an Otago University student when he won the 1990 edition of Mastermind with the life and works of David Bowie as his specialist subject.

After a 20-year break, the Whanganui deputy mayor believes the show will hold up in a modern TV context.

"I think everybody's probably missing the quality of TV there used to be in the past," he said.

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"I think it's great - it's your classic old game show.

"Reality TV is dying a death, so bringing back the old game shows is good."

Mr McDouall said the format was a genuine test of knowledge: "It's got a kind of gravitas. If you think of some of the people who have won it over time, before me, there's professors, university chancellors and the occasional black cab driver. It's not something you can get on and guess your way through."

It was a show where a television audience could feel included.

"A lot of people actually can answer a lot of the questions and, if they can't, they learn something."

This season there'll be one episode in particular which Mr McDouall will be looking out for, with Auckland artist Sally Blythe also selecting the life and times of David Bowie as her specialist subject.

"He is very much current and the people who really like David Bowie really like David Bowie. I'll certainly be watching it - it will be fun," Mr McDouall said.

His advice to those appearing on the TV show is to read all the newspapers they can and to learn their specialised subject as well as they can.

The television quiz show will be screening on TV One from May 1.