Tuesday, 20 October 2009

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Repechage Round heat 1 of 2 - University College London v. Clare College Cambridge

There’s something about the repechage round. The fact that you’ve got teams who managed to score highly even while losing often means that you get pretty close and well fought matches. This year there’s barely a starter’s worth between all 4 teams.

Top out of the 4 repechage teams were UCL, although as JP reminded us they only scored 10 points more than Clare did in theirs. The loyalties on the Clark sofa were divided in this show – after all UCL are a University of London college, but on the other hand Clare’s star is Matt Cliffe from Ealing, my home borough.

Clare drew first blood but my hopes for a close match were fulfilled at first as, for the first ten minutes, neither side managed to gain the ascendancy. It was all square on 45 points each as two starters went begging. Then it was that UCL’s 3 big hitters, McKenna, Moore, and captain Woolley began to find their range and started to comprehensively beat Clare to the buzzer. I was particularly impressed with Mr. Moore’s remarkable calculation that in the JK Rowling Harry Potter series there are 493 knuts in a galleon.

UCL’s power surge through the third quarter left them nearly home and dry as we moved into the last 5 minutes. However I was impressed by my compatriot Cliffe’s show of Dunkirk spirit as he continued to fight a rearguard action for Clare, running out in the end their best scorer with 6 correctly answered starters. In many ways this was the main difference between the teams – UCL having three big hitters, and Clare only having the one. So very well done to UCL, who put on an impressive 220 points, and commiserations to Clare, whose 145 tonight and performances this series have been nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

In every match of the first round that I actually saw, JP made a point of saying that he wasn’t going to go over the rules. Tonight he did, although at pretty much breakneck speed.
We had to be content tonight with no controversial adjudications like last week, but at least had two light to medium outbursts. When given “Gateshead” the answer to “In which North East town is MIMA ? “ his nose wrinkled as if an invisible elephant had just dumped a load all over his desk . “Gateshead !? No ! Its Middlesbrough. “ Then when given the correct answer that a version we heard of “We Can Work It Out “’ was originally by the Beatles, but this version sung by Stevie Wonder, he replied “ I don’t know how it took you so long. “ Well – they’re all about 2 decades too young to answer it quickly, Jeremy, that’s why. He was quite tickled by the suggestion that Anthony Gormley’s installation “Quantum Cloud” might have been titled “Girder Christmas Tree. “

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

Fingersmith was actually a Victorian slang term for a pickpocket. I have actually heard this term before, but I have no intention of telling you what I thought it really meant. Suffice it to say that I shall be washing my mind out with soap before next week.

No comments: