University Challenge - Monday 26th January 8pm
Quarter Final number 3, and after this there are just 4 shows to go in the series ( sob ) . For the first time in the quarter finals we have an Oxbridge college against a non-Oxbridge college - Corpus Christi Oxford against the University of Exeter.
Hopes for the University of Exeter weren't raised by Paxman's revelation that, going into this show, Corpus Christi have scored an aggregate total of 625 in their two matches, while Exeter have scored 370 in theirs. However, even allowing for that, what followed was beyond all expectation. Poor Exeter didn't really get a look in at all. It seemed like Gail Trimble of Corpus Christi had her hand glued to the buzzer. She ate up starter after starter in a breathtaking performance, and was ably supported by the rest of the team.
I would say that Exeter's performance was made to look worse than it was because they were forced to jump to the buzzer far too early to beat Corpus Christi to the starters, so for every time they got one right, they'd get two wrong, losing points in the process. So while Corpus Christi racked up an amazing 350 points, Exeter managed just 15, despite having answered enough questions correctly to have scored quite a bit higher than this.
Paxman seemed almost apologetic afterwards, and said that it would be "beastly" to pass any comment about their score. As I recall this hasn't stopped him in the past. He did make a point of saying that they had nothing to be ashamed of, since making the quarter finals is an achievement in itself. I couldn't agree more. However he did rather let himself down by suggesting that the team stay away from the student bar when the show was broadcast.
You may remember that St. John's College Cambridge were my tip for the top after all the second round matches were played. Next week they have to overcome City University for the dubious privilege of playing Corpus Christi in the semi. What a match up that might be.