University Challenge - 2022

Any other fans?

This week was the first week of series 52 of UC. This will be Jeremy Paxman’s last (and 28th!) year as host - he has Parkinson’s and his delivery has slowed down over the few years.

To follow along, Dave Garda’s Youtube channel has the weekly shows. Very good first match. I love the way the bonus questions bear no relation to the starter. Starter question on astrophysics, bonuses on Polish video game developers.


I miss Bambi as host.

I’m a huge fan, as is Mini Mouse. Have watched every episode for more than ten years with her. Monday night ritual for us. Probably the only one that’s lasted eight years (she’s in high school now, this started when she was in elementary school)

When she started getting some questions right at age 11 or 12, she was chuffed beyond measure.

I’ve probably watched hundreds of them, right back to it’s early days with Bamber. I still fill in his name mentally as Paxman is introduced!

I thought that so long as the Starter questions were answered correctly the Bonuses would refer back to them. They only get out of sync when a Starter is answered wrongly or not at all.
Once they slip behind there’s no way for the Bonuses to catch up.

That could be the case, I don’t know.

I never saw the Gascoigne years. The clips I’ve seen show much easier questions.


I paid attention today, and you’re wrong, at least as far as the modern game is played. Today’s first starter was a question about a quote (the answer - Louis Pasteur) and the bonuses where on music inspired by the sea.


Yes, I’m obviously wrong, but both my partner and I both think the bonuses used to be more directly connected to a question, even if the bonus was answered later. She remembers both music and art bonuses being ‘near’ to the starter question.
And even in Monday’s round, the Pasteur question possibly inspired the later bonus about science research history. But maybe the questions have never been as linked as I’ve assumed.

Bonus questions for picture and music starters stay true to the category. Not necessarily true for other starter questions.

Hapax legomenon.

The BBC recently produced a documentary celebrating 60 years of the show (brag alert: I appeared in 2 episodes during my time at university, we lost to that year’s winners - I was not featured in the documentary) and this point was acknowledged. It makes sense really - society (and particularly the subset of people keen on trivia) is becoming ever-more knowledgable, and particularly in the internet age of course - it’s so much easier to absorb a lot of information relatively quickly.

I don’t watch every episode (wife is not a fan) but it’s still one of my favourite TV shows. I sometimes manage to mentally buzz in with the correct answer to a starter question before the contestants, but I’m usually totally lost on the bonuses, as they are so specialist (they’re usually things you need to have read at least a primer on to have a chance, not things you might have picked up as part of general knowledge).