As you'll remember from Monday's show, Warwick's win was down mostly to the buzzer work of Sophie Rudd, who answered an impressive nine starters correct. An impressive performance, one of the best for sometime; last series, only Calum Bungey managed to answer as many as that in a single match.
However, unfortunately, some people on Twitter dismissed her good work because, SHOCK HORROR, she's a girl!
Of course, these people have been quickly shouted down, with numerous tweeters, including someone pretending to be Peter Mannion from The Thick of It, defending her, saying it doesn't matter whether she's a girl, a transwoman, or anything else. What matters is she's clearly intelligent and a good player of the game. And surely that's the whole point of UC.
It does prove something else, though. Immediately, I was expecting the papers to have stories about Miss Rudd and those attacks the next day, and I was not disappointed. This joins Vestgate and the 'dumbing down' stories that have popped up recently, as the latest in the non-stories the press pick up in a desperate attempt to get people to read their articles.
And that brings us to the story I was planning to talk about here originally: THAT disqualification. If you're somehow unfamiliar with what I'm on about, here's a potted version of the story from a presentation about UC I did for my employment course at the University of Aberdeen two years ago:
- "In 2008-09, Corpus Christi College Oxford won the series. However, a few days after the final went out, one newspaper published a story claiming one of their team had left before the final rounds were filmed. Normally, something like this would have blown over quickly, but this was soon after Ross-Brand-Sachsgate, and the BBC wanted to act quickly to avoid another 'scandal'. So the team were retrospectively disqualified and the runners-up, Manchester, were reawarded the title."
Naturally, this has divided aficionados to this day. WW, of course, refuse to acknowledge the disqualification, saying the 'rule' (that final year students must stay on as postgrads) was unfair, and noting two previous occasions where Oxford winning team members had moved elsewhere prior to the final rounds, and the BBC had told them it was OK. Of course, Sam Kay, the member in question, had intended to stay at the college as a postgrad, but couldn't afford to, so he left.
I, personally, said what I really think of this last week, when I described what happened as:
- "a 'scandal' that would have quickly blown over had it happened any year prior to that"
A couple of weeks ago, WW claimed that final was the moment UC became the show became the cultural hit it is nowadays. The years beforehand, it was nothing more than a niche quiz that went out in the background to a decent and loyal audience. Hence why nothing was made of these previous examples. (I personally think Guttenplan-mania the following year was what mostly inspired UC into the public's full attention)
It was a highly unfortunate incident caused by it simply happening at the wrong time. But then, had it not happened, chances are, the show would still be being recorded over two gaps in two separate terms, and some winning team would have be disqualified some time down the line. So, if it was going to happen, it's probably best that it happened before the show properly became a banker, rather than some years later when it had been so for some time. After all, the press would have kicked up a much bigger fuss about it then.
Can we blame the press for it happening? Possibly, yes. But then, the press will kick up a fuss about anything. I mean, someone wearing a vest on UC? Unusual, but surely not big enough to deserve that much coverage.
These things are just going to keep happening, and we neutral commentators should just take them with a salt pinch, and carry on providing accurate, impartial, professional accounts of UC that won't offend anyone and not turn any small thing into an online 'meme'.
I'll be back with my usual UC review on Monday. See yous then then.