So, what did University Challenge have to offer us tonight?
Queen Mary is a constituent of the University of London; it was founded in 1887, but didn’t join the university until 1915. Alumni include Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, cricket’s WG Grace, and University Challenge’s Roger Tilling. Tonight’s quartet are the first team from the institution to appear in the Paxo era; they were:
Patrick Woodburn, from Woldingham in Surrey, studying Medicine
Alistair Haigh, from Harrogate, studying Biology and Psychology
Captain: Luca Cavalli, from South London, studying Physcis
Michael Hammond, from North London, studying History
Jesus College Oxford was founded in 1571 by Elizabeth I, and is the only Oxford college to date from her reign. It last sent a team two years ago, where they were annihilated by Edinburgh in the first round (335-35); the team from the year before made the quarter-finals. Tonight’s team were:
Matt Hitchings, from London, studying Mathematical Modelling
Frankie Goodway, from London, studying English
Captain: Guy Brindley, from Worcestershire, studying Classics
Johnny Woodward, from Winchester, studying Engineering
Mr Hitchings was unlucky on the first starter question, answering ‘Sherlock’ when Sherlock Holmes was what was required. He and his team soon recovered though, and opened up a lead, which, although Queen Mary came close to overtaking, they never quite managed.
One question listed the various royal roles, and dates during the 16th century; when JP said the holder was executed in 1540, I knew it was Thomas Cromwell; neither team got that answer, Queen Mary making the understandable mistake of saying Thomas More, and Jesus saying Cardinal Wolsey.
Jesus maintained a steady lead throughout the second half, and, with roughly three minutes left, were ahead 150-70. But Queen Mary began a late surge, which, although impressive and respectable, wasn’t quite enough to catch the leaders. Jesus won the game, 150-120.
Matt Hitchings’ five starters was the best individual performance for the Oxonians, but the side managed just 12 bonuses out of 33 (with four penalties for interrupting incorrectly), and they’ll need to improve on that to progress further. Alistair Haigh’s three were best for the Londoners, who managed 9 bonuses out of 21 (with one penalty).
Next match: Magdalen College Oxford vs Sidney Sussex College Cambridge
On another note, Saturday’s Archive on 4 (on Radio 4) told the story of University Challenge, with interviews with Bambi and Paxo, plus contestants from over the years, including Sean Blanchflower (Trinity College Cambridge, 1994-95), Luke Pitcher (Somerville College Oxford, 2001-02), and, of course, Gail Trimble (Corpus Christi College, Oxford 2008-09), who talked about where her exceptional ability came from, and her sadness at her team’s disqualification.
Also, special mention to the new series of Only Connect, which began this evening on BBC4. It was a great match, and I’m sure Dave Clark will post a review of some sort over on LAM at some point, if you’d like to go and have a look.