Wednesday, 18 August 2010

University Challenge-d


Hard though it may be to believe, MasterChef isn't my favourite TV programme. Not by a long shot. That honour goes to the quiz show University Challenge as hosted by the redoubtable Jeremy Paxman.

I've always been good at quizzes so, unsurprisingly, it was always my dream to go on University Challenge (I was that kid from Starter for Ten, though I did have a brief flirtation with Blockbusters) and, as a student, I very nearly achieved that dream - I was the reserve for my college team and, wonder of wonders, they passed the auditions and actually got on the show.

So I trundled along with the team up to Granada studios in Manchester in the hope that someone would get food poisoning and I'd graciously step into the breach and save the day. But no, they were all fine. And after that, I graduated and I thought that was that.

intercollegiate challenge
This is in my parents' house. Not mine.

Then one day, bored at work, I was reading a trade paper when I saw an ad asking people to apply for a spin-off called University Challenge - The Professionals and so of course I applied ...

It was 2003. I was captain. I led a team of lawyers. I'd really like to say we stormed to victory, but in fact we got absolutely slaughtered. By a bunch of vicars.

Meh, I guess it's only right that God beat Mammon.

Anyway, as a kind of cathartic therapy I suppose, here for your delectation is my deathless appearance on University Challenge. Please don't laugh too much.

I still love Paxo by the way.

And I still clearly love University Challenge - I mean, look what I just bought on eBay:

UC game


  1. "Cream again"?!
    Oh, Meems, you really wanted Paxo to lay into you!

    Having said that, I'm unbelievably jealous that you were in UC - I love that programme and watch it religiously: great to improve one's English!

  2. Is this because Pete and I I spent more than an hour, nearer to two, trying to hunt down this video on the interwebs the other day?



    ps loving my word verification of shlyings!

  3. My favourite bit is when you say what you enjoy most about your job is how everyday a client can ring up and ask for a meeting. I LOVE that!

    You're FAB!

    PS you sound posh.

    PPS you look lovely.

    PPS redingu

  4. @BribedwithFood - Yeah, what's wrong with Cream? :D

    @Kavey - Partly - I didn't want to inflict the whole half hour on you.

    @Kavey again - Can I just say that we didn't know they were going to interview us and when they did, they wouldn't let us do another take?

    So obviously I came across like a simpleton.

  5. University Challenge is one of only two programmes we have on series link on Sky Plus in our household. I have always loved it, always. Though I was far too scared to ever apply to go on. Anyway, I think I was at Manchester maybe during the time when they were banned for ages for being rebellious or something in the 1980s or something. That might just be an urban myth though.

  6. Ha! You're always full of surprises. Actually, I'm not that surprised!

  7. @Sharmila - Ooh, I never knew about a ban. Sounds likely though.

    @Greedy Diva - I'm chock-full of surprises, me.

  8. LOL bloody awesome MiMi... but WHO IS MIN? AND WHAT DID SHE DO WITH MIMI?

  9. We watch it in our house too.
    Great video, you were lovely and very calm. I didn't know you were a lawyer - thought you were a doctor, lol!

  10. Amazing. The BSG and I never miss it - never in telly history has scoring even a point been so rewarding. It was responsible for the cremation of some quite promising BBQ ribs the other week as we struggled with a music round..

  11. @catty - My alter ego, of course!

    @Nicisme - Thank you! Both my parents are doctors actually :)

    @BSG - Yeah, I stil play at home!

  12. Mimi this is awesome!
    I agree with Kavey, you do sound frightfully posh. :)

  13. Heh! You are one lady full of surprises! We are so happy to see this! What a day brightener you are
    : ) xxx

  14. Love the edited highlights - you were definitely robbed!

    Am another lover of UC - deeply impressed/jealous you made it on.

  15. Amazing screen presence

    But seriously, MiMi, just how did you manage to talk with so many plums in your mouth?

    ; P

  16. @Lost in the Larder - Hey, that's my normal voice, dude.

    @Fernandez and Leluu - What a lovely thing to say - thank you :) xxx

    @bron - Heh, very carefully edited. And yes, we were robbed. Of course :D

    @Food Urchin - I coulda been a contender. Btw, shows the company I keep these days when my initial reaction to the plums comment is to snigger.

    Also - hey, that's my normal voice, dude.

  17. I was in the studio audience. Those vicars were cheating.

  18. You missed your calling as a TV presenter. Take over Paxos job.

  19. @Anonymous - I don't know who you are, but I love you.

    @May - Thank you, but I wouldn't dream of it!

  20. Hoho- good going Ms Min!! I particularly enjoyed the differing heights of your team in the VT bit.
    My parents have my matriculation pic from Downing on the wall where I look like a dwarf standing next to my tall friend, and my PhD certificate amongst other 'achievements'. If I had been on a quiz team that would be on the 'wall of me' too. I suspect it's an Asian thing. Ixx

  21. Paxman's job is mine... all mine. I'm not really clever enough but I can fake it when I have the answers on the cards and I can definitely do a great line in condescending putdowns!

  22. I never realised you were a lawyer! My girlfriend's in the same profession - she does insolvency. She'll be extremely jealous when I tell her you did/are doing media...

    Do you turn the radio over with a "HURRUMPH!" when John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers come on by the way? ;P

    (I didn't know what it was either)

  23. @TheFastestIndian - Whoa - should we call you Dr IreenaRibena? Yeah, Asian mothers, eh.

    @Kavey - Yes, you can be Paxman, heh.

    @Alex - Past tense :)

    John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers? Who?

    I'm still ticked off that the Evening Standard TV critic said I said Cream three times. It was only twice and I was clearly being flippant the second time ...

  24. Fabulous-definitely one to keep for the grandchildren.
    I can remember the days when Gandi Brassgroin asked the questions and the infamous Q;What was Ghandis Christian name? to which the response came-Goosey Goosey..
    Sadly,Blockbusters was more on my intelligence level,we used to sit expectantly waiting for the "Can I have a P Bob?"Raised a snigger every time.

  25. Well done for making the attempt; until you've got on a stage and tried answering questions you never really know how you'll do.

    I was really good (captain of pub quiz team - trophies etc. etc.) but my abiding memory is of getting on stage and thinking literally "I mustn't let white noise take over..." during which time the question was asked and in a hysterical moment I answered "white noise". My team mates were singularly unimpressed.

  26. @TheFastestIndian - Awesome!

    @Northern Snippet - Hey, like I said, Blockbusters was also a favourite - but they axed it before I had a chance to get on :)

    @chumbles - Cool - when was this? I want to see pictures/video!

  27. Mimi, you were on University Challenge?! You just MADE Tuesday. Love that show, though batting average of correct answers is about 2 per show...


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