13 thoughts on “Exam week fun: University Challenge

  1. Stephen Fry for sure. For a moment, I thought it was Hugh Laurie but I decided I was wrong (it turns out I wasn’t) Emma Thompson (tragically underused here). Not sure who the MC is but he sure is familiar.


  2. Point one: abolish property!
    Point two: abolish capitalism!
    Point three: Dexy’s Midnight Runners playing free, daily, in the university library!


  3. Well, I can name them all, but I won’t if it will spoil the game. But for the record, Alan Cummings isn’t in this sketch. The MC is Griff Rhys-Jones – a Welsh comedian, who used to be in a comedy duo with Mel Brookes(who in some episodes played the University Challenge security guard).


  4. I would say it wasn’t just funny if you’re a teenager in the 1980s, the Young Ones is a classic. I use an excerpt from the episode ‘Cash’ in my lectures on Thatcherism and currently devising a paper on using the show as a simulacra of 1980s Britain.


  5. Evan–that’s really clever, although a bit depressing to me to know that a period of my life is now taught as history. But it makes perfect sense–Rik and Viv are very much characters from university in the 1980s. (The other two relied on their retro-poses and attitudes for their humor even back in the 1980s). Still, when I made the comment about the humor, I was just noting that it’s quite broad, shall we say, and not overly sophisticated.

    I had no idea there might be so many readers who remembered this series fondly. I guess a lot of you were also staying up late on Sunday nights watching MTV, back when it was still mostly music and only occasionally a place for re-runs.


  6. Historiann – am a long time reader, and while not a great commenter, the combination of history and 1980s bbc comedy inspired me. The excerpt you’ve selected may not be that sophisticated, but there are other bits that I think are very clever.

    The bit I show in my lectures on Thatcherism from the episode ‘Cash’ has Rik yelling:

    we haven’t got any money. Vyvyan’s baby will be a pauper. Oliver Twist, Geoffrey Dickens. Back to Victorian values. I hope you’re satisfied, Thatcher!

    I love the mixing up of Charles Dickens with Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and the piss-take of Thatcher’s promotion of ‘Victorian values’.

    Here in Australia, the show gets shown on occassion on ABC, so quite a few first-year students are down with the show when I show it in class.


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