Tuesday, 12 January 2010

TV Watch - University Challenge

University Challenge – Quarter Final Match 2 – St. Andrews v. Manchester

Yes, it’s the return of St. Andrews and Manchester. St. Andrews, according to JP know everything about world war II fighter planes, and nothing about feminist theory. Their opponents, Manchester, containing our own Rach Cherryade, who I have to say looked fantastic with hair dyed to match her dress last night, were one of the most dominant teams in the first two rounds. On paper, though, these were two well matched teams. So how would this go ?

St. Andrews took first blood, with Mr. Flaherty, who’d impressed mightily last time out buzzing in before Manchester. Still, Mr. Whitfield from Manchester buzzed in to identify a definition of the word chimera for the second starter. This was followed by starters from Mr. Whyman, and captain Whitfield again. I’d love to say that I got a lot of their bonuses right myself, but it would be an utter lie, considering that I think I was away from school the day we did Science. Manchester were on a really good run, though. It was all pretty much one way traffic , so much so that St. Andrews still hadn’t managed to get in with their second starter by the halfway stage. With Manchester leading by 100 points it wasn’t exactly time to panic, but St. Andrews needed to get their skates on. Mr. Flaherty buzzed in to earn a set of music bonuses on the Five Russian composers.

Nick Daunt steadied the Manchester ship with the next starter, a very good early interruption , in my opinion. Captain Whitfield, as he had been doing all show, buzzed in correctly to take the next starter, and push St. Andrews a little closer to the brink of defeat. Mr. Flaherty buzzed in to suggest that Queen Charlotte, a royal consort for 57 years, had been the wife of Charles II. Worth a try, but wrong, and the situation for St. Andrews was becoming acute. They knew that they had to try to get quick points, so you can’t blame them for a couple of reckless interruptions. 5 minutes to go, though, and the game was over as a contest. Manchester made a forgiveable error suggesting that Pilsner lager takes its name from a city in Czechoslovakia. Right, but wrong, since the answer required was Czech Republic. It didn’t matter. At the end Manchester won by a thumping 195 to 50.

I must make my apologies to Manchester. Not for supporting them, I hasten to add, since they have proven themselves more than capable of overcoming the enormous drag effect of receiving support from the Clark sofa. No, I must apologise for thinking in my heart of hearts that they wouldn’t necessarily dominate St. Andrews in the same way that they dominated their first two opponents. Stunning performance, and you have one foot in the semis now. Well done. As for St. Andrews – nil desperandum. You can still do it.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Last week he called the new rules “Byzantine”, but this time he seems to have mellowed a bit, calling them “almost comprehensible”.
While Manchester were grappling with a phone number bonus, he sat back with his arms crossed, and said “My producer wants me to hurry you up, but I’m enjoying it too much !”
When Rachael suggested that orthopaedics is directly concerned with the treatment of children, she was ignored by the skipper, who offered “lepers”. “Should have listened to Miss Neiman !” sniffed our Jeremy.

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

Its not a fact as such, but I have to say, on which other show would you get asked a question about spelling out word using a mobile phone keyboard ? This is just one example of what we love UC for.


quizfan said...

Hi, I've not posted here before but would like to say thanks for your past UC analyses (which I have thoroughly enjoyed reading) and especially for this measured and objective account of the Manchester/St Andrews match. I have to declare a bias (I know Christopher Flaherty) but your considered comments re both teams were so refreshing and encouraging to read compared with the (IMO) overly harsh (and occasionally downright offensive) 'throwaway' remarks elsewhere on the net. As for St Andrews this time , well, sometimes the questions just don't go your way - you can't get to the quarter finals (or even through to the televised matches) if you are totally useless! Congratulations to Manchester, who were so quick on the buzzer and did a fabulous job.

Londinius said...

Hello Quizfan, and welcome to LAM.

Well, thanks for your comments. I do try to call it as I see it, and if this comes across in the reviews, then I'm delighted. You saw the show, so you know that on the night Manchester were the better team. But this does not make St. Andrews a bad team. As you so rightly say, however good you are sometimes the questions just do not run for you, and there's little you can do about it.

Christopher Flaherty was absolutely outstanding in the first two rounds, and if he's on song in the next match, then St. Andrews will still be a handful for any team. The repechage round saw two great matches, and I'm sure that whoever St. Andrews play next , it will be a cracker.

Best regards

Dave C.

Rach Cherryade said...

Hi, thanks for another lovely review! I have to say that match was a bit of a blur, the first match I'd really felt nervous in, mostly, I think, because I was dreading playing St. Andrews who had been one of the outstanding teams in the first 2 rounds. I'd like to pay tribute to the team because I genuinely think that nerves just got the better of them (as they did me!) and that they just got a bit dispirited towards the end which as you pointed out caused them to lose some points. They're a great team who definitely deserved better and hopefully it's not over yet, especially, if, as you mentioned, Christopher Flaherty is on form!

Our next match is against St. Johns (Granada are not making our lives easy!) and will be shown on Feb 1st.

Thanks again for the support,
p.s. thanks for the kind comments about my hair, most of my wardrobe is pink so I think it makes sense to match!

Londinius said...

Hi Rach. St. John's eh ? Well, that will certainly be a match to look out for. Thinking about it , I really rather like the new format of the quarters. Its a shame for teams like yourselves, who would now be straight into the semis, but I think that its a real bonus for the viewers. Its nice also that a team can afford one bad day at the office in the quarters and still have the chance to go through too. Here's hoping you can still keep overcoming the curse of the Clark support !

Unknown said...

Rachael's teammate Jakob chiming in here - I've really enjoyed all your reviews, and I would just like to add that I should have listened better to my teammates on at least two occasions, as I misheard Midas for Minos.

I'd also like to say that St. Andrews were great opponents, who I think just had a bit of an off day.

Londinius said...

Hello Jakob !

Why thank you for your kind comments. As regards mishearing answers, well, its tough at the top. Being skipper is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it !

Mind you, you do realise that in every review from now on you will no longer be Captain Whitfield , but 'Regular LAM reader Jakob Whitfield' !

In all seriousness congratulations on your emphatic performances so far. The biggest compliment that I can give you is that you are worthy successors as a Manchester University team to last year's excellent team. Keep up the good work.