Making a fool of oneself on a grand scale

If you’re unfortunate enough not to have anything better to do at 19.45 on Boxing Day, you can watch me make a fool of myself in front of about 4 million people on BBC2.

Christmas University Challenge Gonville & Caius with Jeremy Paxman

I should point out that we were asked to take part in this by the producers; we didn’t volunteer ourselves as being particularly skilled at This Sort of Thing! There was also no selection process, such as often takes place in undergraduate teams, to weed out people like me at an early stage. I went along with it, I must confess, mostly because I was reasonably familiar with the old Television Centre in London but had never been inside the new Media City studios in Salford, and I thought this would be a fun way to see them…

Having said that, I was blessed with really excellent team mates, it was great fun, and overall, we didn’t disgrace ourselves.

More information on the Christmas series can be found here, and the University Challenge iPlayer page is here.

Enjoyed this post? Why not sign up to receive Status-Q in your inbox?


I will attempt to remember to be in front of the TV at the appropriate time, tuned to the correct channel. However, bearing in mind the state of my memory not to mention my family, I might require a timely reminder and another link to that iPlayer page 😉

You probably have a slight advantage with a double-barrelled surname and college name. How many extra milliseconds does it take to say: “Stafford-Fraser, Gonville and Caius” compared with “Dobbs, Christ-Church”? You can press the buzzer slightly before you can recall the answer 😉

Ha – I hadn’t thought of that, Jon – though, sadly, I had few opportunities to take advantage of it.

I hadn’t really thought before about that disembodied voice that announces the names, but actually, he’s a very nice guy named Roger who has a desk just behind the cameras to Paxman’s left, and does the announcements on the fly. I had lunch with him…

Just Sky+ it this evening. I already know one answer so I’ll get a nice little head start on Maria 🙂

Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To create code blocks or other preformatted text, indent by four spaces:

    This will be displayed in a monospaced font. The first four 
    spaces will be stripped off, but all other whitespace
    will be preserved.
    Markdown is turned off in code blocks:
     [This is not a link](

To create not a block, but an inline code span, use backticks:

Here is some inline `code`.

For more help see


© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser