Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

image for University Challenge: UCL And Manchester Keep Us Smiling The future of UC skippers?

All right! We'll take up the slack while Col Juan News suffers IT trauma.

Well done to both teams - this was an entertaining match, thanks mostly to both skippers deliberating with their team mates audibly.

And entering into a bit of banter with inquisitor, Jeremy Paxman.

Maybe the pressure was off a little, since defeat in your opening quarter-final match is the not the end of the matter. Teams have to win two matches at this stage to qualify for the semi-finals.

So while they were beaten 195-125 by University College, London, we will see Manchester again - but the pressure will be on them in future, as they now need to win twice.

Both teams arrived at this stage with accumulated scores of more than 400 - but let's face it, this was a battle of the hair-do's: UCL skipper Jamie Karran's bird's nest against the floppy blonde barnet of Manchester captain, Tristan Burke.

Given the pre-recorded nature of these shows, we doubt producers have had time to act on complaints about the lack of entertainment value in some recent matches, but something happened here last night.

Paxo was clearly entertained by hearing the deliberations - especially one skipper's exhortation to a mate: "You were doing Africa!"

Even an obviously and utterly wrong answer from Karran was accompanied by a hopeful thumbs up... only to be rebuffed with Paxo's Caesar-like thumb down.

So, good luck to both teams. They're fun to watch and they know their stuff - a credit to the show.

Col Juan is suffering enforced IT downtime.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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