Television Story Telling






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"University Challenge" BBC 2

Extract from the popular quiz based impossibility.

As usual, Newsnight’s Jeremy “come on!” Paxman is in the chair, as underdogs David University battle it out against Goliath College, Cambridge.

Paxman: Good evening and welcome to another first qualifying round edition of University Challenge. Tonight we’re joined by last year’s winners Goliath College, Cambridge, and their cannon fodder for this evening is the former polytechnic, David University. Good evening chaps.

GCC: [simultaneously] Evening Jeremy.

DU: Paxey.

Paxman: Yes [rolls eyes]. Ok, well lets get on with it then. First starter question; fingers on buzzers. …

DU: Is it….

Paxman: I haven’t asked the question yet! OK, starter question, in thermo-nuclear physics, which radioactive isotope was said by its discoverer in 1972 to be “duo-hydro-mechano-carbonate”?

GCC: [Buzzes instantly] Strontium-127!

Paxman: No. David, any ideas?

DU2: Um. Strontium one hundred and twenty … eight?

Paxman: Is correct! Good guess David!

DU2: Alan.

Paxman: Yes [Looks over nervously at camera 2]. OK, your bonus questions are on bimolecular fusion. What is the name of the force that binds elemental matter according to the bimolecular theory of juxtaposition of an inert gas with its composite atomic configuration?

DU: [whispering between each other]
DU1: Oh err…
DU3: Quail? Is it? It has something to do with quail.
DU2: Is it William Shakespeare? No, Wordsworth?
DU1: No is it? No.
DU2: I’m…I dunno. Not sure. It’s a fucking ridiculous question. They all are!

Producer: Cut! Sorry, cut! We could hear swearing there while they were conferring.

Paxman: Oh God. [Shakes head] OK, let’s go again. [Looks at Camera 1]. David, your bonus questions for ten points. What is…

DU2: [Screeching] SHAKESPEARE!

Paxman: Are you on this show for a bet?

DU2: [Confers with team members who all look away] Not exactly. Although I have been drinking!

Paxman: [Looks menacing] OK, lets abandon this, it’s happening again, we really do need to screen our teams better, or better still only allow Oxbridge teams. Otherwise you can get someone else to do this show. Des Lynam or Chris Tarrant or some such yob.

Producer: We won’t be able to use any of this.

[Fades out with David University contestants arguing obscenely amongst themselves]