University Challenging

I really enjoyed watching ‘University Challenge’ this year. This comes as something of a shock to me because in the past I’ve loathed the programme with a vengeance.

I only needed to hear the theme music and like Pavlov’s dogs I would react; knuckles going white, snarl coming from lips, vein throbbing in forehead. You get the picture.

So when I happened to fall upon the programme by chance, halfway through the present series, I didn’t expect too much but lo’ and behold I found myself hooked. I’d spend a happy half hour vainly making attempts at providing answers but mostly I spent my time just trying to understand the questions.

The final was great, far more worthy than any sporting event, so imagine the disappointment when I discovered today that the winning team had been disqualified.

And the reason?

‘… students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series.’

Apparently Corpus Christie College, Oxford had a team member who when the final was filmed was not a student anymore but working for PWC (Price Waterhouse Coopers.)


I’m not the sharpest tool in the box but I can read a set of rules. A team consisting of some of the finest young minds in the country hadn’t noticed that one of their fellows was now working (surely they must have missed him at the student union bar) and that fact might cause a bit of a problem.

It’s strangely, reassuringly comforting that these people whose bedtime reading probably consists of Advanced Nuclear Physics or Ancient Latin Verbs and Conjugations had failed to cast a little eye on the rules as they steamrollered their way through the heats and semi-finals.

So in the great tradition of U.C. your starter for 10.

“Has anyone read the rules?”



Sources: The Guardian;      BBC

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