Yes, I do love game shows, so very excited tonight to be watching the final of University Challenge – it’s a looong series, been following for months and finally tonight we have a winning team: Manchester. (Surprise!)
Bamber Gascoigne was the iconic quiz master who hosted the programme from 1962 till 1987. (In 1987 I was an undergraduate at Lancaster but only knew answers to questions about Wham! or Evelyn Waugh, at a push, with a fair wind.) Since then Jeremy Paxman, aka Paxo, the demon interviewer, has been at the helm. He is not as student-friendly as Bamber. He is very scary. But I am just getting used to him after nearly two decades.
I am happy if I get a few questions right over the course of thirty minutes. In fact it gets quite competitive between my husband and me. He likes to think he is intellectually superior but we all know who has the brain in this house. Moi. At a push. With a fair wind. On a good day.
University Challenge might be elitist and academic but there is nothing wrong with spending half an hour in the company of boffs. And the happiness when you get an answer right is worth the humiliation of getting most of them wrong.
And not to mention this show’s place in our popular culture. David Nicholls’ wonderful novel Starter for Ten was made into a sweet film and was a memorable scene on The Young Ones… And a chapter heading in The Generation Game.
Well done, Manchester.