A team representing the University of Life acquitted itself well on its first outing on University Challenge last night. With a line-up comprising Keith MacKillop, a 54-year-old pub bore from Swindon, Penny Plant, a 44-year old basket weaver from the Isle of Skye, Kyle Jessop, a 29-year-old ‘self-made’ building contractor from Shropshire and embittered 64-year-old heating engineer Terry Ince from Dublin, the team scored a respectable 125 points, narrowly losing out to Magdalen College, Oxford.
‘We didn’t have to go on the show,’ Ince insisted, ‘but we had a bit of a point to prove, didn’t we? Spoilt kids doing useless courses on pointless bloody crap…’
The team scored well on the Geography round with 29-year-old Jessop having visited every one of the Canary Islands silhouetted on the screen during his last winter cruise with his wife and three children. Basket-weaver Plant accurately quoted four lines from ‘Beowulf’, explaining later that she had used the poem to get her children to sleep at night. Self-confessed pub bore McKillop’s knowledge of The Smiths’ back catalogue eased them through the music round and Ince, the team captain, spent a lot of time mumbling why the voiceover man was saying ‘Maudlin’ instead of Magdalen and threatening to twat the puffin of the next person who looked at him like that. He answered nothing.
But he did express disappointment at not winning the round and going on to meet Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, in the quarter-final. ‘What sort of a bloody stupid name is that for a college – aren’t they in the Muppets?’ he demanded. ‘I was looking forward to telling them precisely that, and I’m telling you, I wouldn’t have missed and hit the wall either, bunch of posh prats. Just because they get in to these places, it’s hardly going to equip them for real life, is it? I mean, what use is knowing Esperanto when most of these kids never set foot outside the Home Counties? And Philosophy degrees are worthless, aren’t they? Well, aren’t they? Or are they? Maybe they are…’