Monday, 23 November 2009

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Second Round Match 4/8 – University College London v. Emmanuel College Cambridge

This remarkable second round match pitted the two most experienced teams in the competition against each other.I say the most experienced because these teams have both already played two matches, winning through the repechage round. University College beat Clare College Cambridge in their repechage , while Emmanuel saw off Christ’s Cambridge in theirs.

Two battle-hardened teams then, so we had every right to expect a good, hard-fought match, and for most of the show we weren’t disappointed. Grahl, McKenna and Wooley of UCL had all been significant hitters in their previous matches, and they combined well throughout the first 20 minutes of the show. At ten minutes in UCL led by 85 to 80. After this UCL began to pull away a little bit, and with 20 minutes to go there was daylight between the teams. The gap though was a little deceptive, as it never really stretched beyond two starters and bonuses. Then, on the five minute o go mark Emmanuel suddenly switched into top gear. Hastings of Emmanuel snapped up his first starter. The gap was almost closed. Jenny Harris of Emmanuel took the next. Then Guttenplan took the next too. Olivia Wooley pulled one starter back for UCL, but by this time Emmanuel were unstoppable. I have to pay tribute to the superb captain of Emmanuel , Alex Guttenplan. He had a relatively quiet first half of the show, possibly because he had rather a stern Paxman wigging for delaying the answer to his first starter. In the second half, though, he was outstanding. It wasn’t just his 8 starters, although that’s enough for anyone, but the number of bonuses he converted single handed. By the end, thanks partly to his great virtuosity, Emmanuel had won by 260 points to 185. I have to be honest, each time I see Emmanuel play, I think more and more what a great performance of Regents’ Park it was to beat them in the first round. Make no mistake, these guys will be a handful for anyone to face in the quarters.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Relatively slim pickings for the serious JP devotee tonight. We had the rather threatening rejoinder to Guttenplan early on,
“Next time you buzz, answer straightaway. “ He didn’t add – or I’ll smash yer face in , but the menace in his tone seemed to say it for him. The best Paxman moment also came in response to a Guttenplan answer, when he refused to accept “semi hardy annual” when the answer was “ half hardy annual” .In response partly to the audience and partly to Emmanuel, he sneered,
“Groaning won’t get you anywhere. “

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

Apparently the German surname Daimler was originally an occupational surname for a torturer who operated the thumbscrews !


Rach Cherryade said...

Another really exciting match, I think this second round is showing what a high calibre of teams there are this year in a way that perhaps wasn't as obvious in round 1. All the teams so far have been great and it's a real shame that only one can win each match! Last night's match was very exciting, UCL are a fabulous team, Olivia Woolley I thought was one of the star performers of the contest so far, it's unfortunate they came up against a team like Emmanuel, who, when they, and especially Alex Guttenplan, get going are a formidable force. It was impossible to call last night's match right up until the end and that made mor amazing tv, especially that virtuoso finish from Emmanuel! I felt the same about last week's St. John's/Loughborough match which was also brilliant watching! I think most of the matches in this round have been pretty closely fought and that all the teams should feel very proud of their performances! Now if only the tabloids would stop writing ill-informed articles about UC's questions 'dumbing down' and actually watch the show I'd be happy!

Londinius said...

Hi Rachel,

Your comments are as insightful and pertinent as always. I do agree that you can see the teams in this second round functioning more as teams, Alex Guttenplan aside. Take UCL. Yes, I agree that Olivia Woolley is a star, but Messrs Grahl and Mckenna also contributed their fair share of starters last night.

Dumbing down, I'm afriad, is a topic which is unlikely ever to go away. For one thing its something you can never satisfactorily disprove, and therefore fairly safe ground for the tabloids.