Oxford's Corpus Christi College, who stormed to victory a few weeks ago on the BBC’s University Challenge, have had their memorable victory wiped from the annals of the immortal, their victor’s trophy rudely snatched back from it’s silk pedestal (leaving a hole like a wound in the college’s trophy cabinet) and their academic street-cred irreversibly soiled.
It seems they fielded a ringer.
One of their team members, Sam Kay (no relation to Peter), was no longer a member of the college when the final was recorded and thus was illegible to take part.
Thus the sacrosanct rules of University Challenge were broken rather like the stone slab in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe and now all the magic has been overturned.
Manchester University, who put up a good fight but were ultimately trounced have now been awarded a rather specious victory which, I’m sure, tastes just as much like ash in the mouth as their actual defeat.
I think it’s a great shame: (a) because Mr Kay pretty much did bugger all to secure Oxford the victory and (b) the real star and unbeatable information engine on the team was the legendary Gail Trimble whose intellectual superiority cannot be denied.
Her depth of knowledge was so all-encompassing she has now been nicknamed “Google Gail” and her hair flicks so enticing she has been approached by sundry lad’s mags to do “tasteful photo shoots” (which she has sadly – but probably wisely – declined).
A lot of people found Gail pompous and aloof. But I kind of liked her. She was intelligent. She was articulate. She was confident. Role model stuff. And she’d undoubtedly worked hard to get where she was and her team worked damned hard to win.
I actually think it’s wrong to strip them of their title.
I know, I know. Rules have to be adhered to... but really nobody is a winner in this situation. I bet Manchester are just as gutted by the circumstances as Oxford.
Why not just have a rematch? You can’t get fairer than that, surely?
I know it will cost money – film crews, studio time, Paxman to read out a few more brain-bashing questions, etc – but if the BBC can afford to pay Jonathan Ross £6 million they can afford one more episode of University Challenge.
Come on! Let’s give Trimble a chance!
And with more time in the limelight Nuts may yet make her an offer that she can’t refuse...