Tuesday, 8 September 2009

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge - First Round Heat 9 - Imperial College , London v. University of Southampton

Shall I tell you something I really like in an edition of University Challenge ? Oh, don't misunderstand me, I enjoy every edition of University Challenge, but there's three types of contest that I enjoy above all others. Firstly , I love a close tussle which is in doubt up until the last minute and then is only settled by the last starter and bonuses. At the other end of the scale I also enjoy one team amassing a huge total through a virtuoso performance on the buzzer. The third, and to my mind rarest of the three, is the type of contest in which one team spends much of the contest comfortably beating the other to the buzzer, only for the other team to come roaring back in the latter stages, turning what looked like a mismatch into a nailbiter. If you haven't seen last night's show, I'll bet you're wondering into which category it fitted. Allow me to elucidate.

Another London University College took their place in the first round last night, in the shape of Imperial College. Unless I was mistaken, the last of the Imperial team introduced himself just by his christian name alone - "Hello, I'm Ben. " While I found this rather amusing, I can't help admitting that I'm worried that this informality may be the thin end of the wedge. Whatever next ?
"Hi, I'm Charlie, but you can call me Nutjob . " Oh well, lets leave that to one side for the time being.
Is it me, or has my dear old University been particularly well represented in the first round this year ? Their opponents were Southampton University, whose distinguished alumni include , amongst others, John Inverdale. I'm afraid that I have no affiliation to Southampton or its university, so had no choice but to lumber poor old Imperial with the kiss of death that usually comes with being supported from the Clark sofa.

Not that this seemed much of a burden to Imperial last night. They took an early lead, and for the first two thirds of the contest they steadily increased their lead. There were a few particular points of interest within the contest. Once again, a music bonus came in the form of a Gary Numan track, in a round of bonuses about 1980s synth music. When the intro of "I just can't get enough" was played my daughter yelled out "The Saturdays", which allowed me to put the young whippersnapper in her place by telling her that Depeche Mode got there first.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Not a lot to report this week. The maestro was in mellow mood, and even this barb directed at Southampton - "You really DON'T know anything about ships, do you ?!" was said with a smile.

Interesting fact I Didn't Already Know of The Week

I liked the fact that if A = 1, B=2 etc. , then 2 - 21 - 26 - 26 means BUZZ, even though I would eventually have worked it out for myself given ten minutes and access to my lap top. However the Most interesting fact for me actually came out of the introduction. Apparently Sir Tim Berners Lee, pioneer of the World Wide Web currently works in Southampton University.

So, until getting on for the 20 minute mark it was a pretty predictable match. Then Stuart Wynn, captain of Southampton , embarked upon a fine run which saw him answer 6 starters correctly. This was all the better considering he had incorrectly answered a few earlier in the show. Imperial remained stuck on 175 as he edged his team towards the 100 barrier, then through it, and what had seemed quite a predictable match became quite exciting. Time was against Southampton, but they were making great headway. Time, though, is a most difficult adversary to get the better of, and as the gong sounded Southampton still trailed by 135 points to 175. Its a shame we won't be seeing them again.

We will be seeing Imperial again, though. Up until the last ten minutes it looked as if they were going to break impressively and comfortably through the 200 points barrier. I can only think that it was the support they received from the Clark sofa which reduced them to crawling pace for the last few minutes.

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