Your Starter for Ten. You got one! University Challenge time.

When I was a child in the 1970’s as soon as I heard the very jaunty theme tune it was time to give up with the TV for the next half an hour and go and do something else. It wasn’t like the posh violin and viola concoction that we have now, back then it even had a tubular bell. Back then this was an attempt to make it a bit more for the common person, it was on ITV then, usual on a Sunday when there really was nothing on, unlike the BBC who have gone with a high brow orchestra. They know the market for it. One of the many Universities that enter is the one in Cardiff. They have never won it. Perhaps they should call upon a Cardiff website designer like to help them with their revision and research.

Actually, the theme of who wins is one of the most hotly debated subjects about the show is that only teams from Oxbridge ever win. Where’s Oxbridge? To explain Oxbridge is the common term for all the Universities and Colleges in Oxford and Cambridge. Whatever, there is a complaint that it just turns into another Varsity competition like the boat race. This is not to say that others haven’t won it since it began in 1963. In fact, it’s a bit of a misnomer to think that as the most wins is shared between Manchester University and Magdalen College Oxford. Trinity College Cambridge are third. Many other Uni’s think that the ability to enter every college available at Oxbridge is unfair, which it is. As a result, the Victoria University team answered every question with the name of a Marxists in protest. “Which Sixteen century French Monarch order the building of Versailles?”, “Leon Trotsky”.

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It’s not daft to suppose that it is an Oxford versus Cambridge affair as these are supposed to be the most intelligent young people in the country. They seemed to ask the most difficult of question about culture and people that I’d not heard of in all my 8 years. If I had stayed around I might have picked something up. When it comes on now, like most mortals, I’m pleased if I get 3 right and feel justified in myself. Some go on and don’t answer any at all and it’s the perfect opportunity for students to humiliate themselves in ways that don’t involve drink.

The presenter Bamber Gascoigne scared me. There were two reasons, firstly his name was Bamber. That sound too much like Bambi to me and the writers of the Young Ones thought that too as they made a joke out of it when Scumbag College got to play against Footlights College Oxbridge. The second was his uncontrolled hair. It seemed to fountain out of his head and his voice was sneering, as we’ve heard before. Jeremy Paxman seems to have gone for that sneering style too. Shouting at undergraduates seems to be about the most fun he gets.

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