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  • APPLAUSE

  • Christmas University Challenge.

  • Asking the questions, Jeremy Paxman.

  • Hello. Two more teams of alumni

  • are preparing to ding-dong merrily for our entertainment

  • in this short, sharp seasonal series for grown-ups.

  • We're playing seven first-round matches

  • of which tonight's fixture is the third.

  • But only the four highest-scoring winning teams

  • will go on to the semifinals.

  • Now, the first player on the team fielded by Pembroke College,

  • Cambridge is both a columnist for the London Evening Standard

  • and a writer whose bestsellers include The Templars

  • and The Plantagenets. He's also presented

  • the Netflix series Secrets of Great British Castles.

  • With him, an athlete who won a gold medal

  • in the 2003 World Championships

  • and an Olympic silver the following year

  • before going to work on conflict issues in Bosnia and Iraq.

  • Their captain is a very familiar face on television

  • having presented Channel 4's T4, E4's Tool Academy,

  • the BBC quiz Impossible and the podcast Science(ish).

  • Their fourth player is a musician

  • who at 17 won the BBC's Young Musician of the Year competition.

  • Since then, she's performed

  • as a soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras

  • and collaborated with Yehudi Menuhin and Dame Cleo Laine.

  • Let's meet the Pembroke College, Cambridge team.

  • Hi. I'm Dan Jones. I graduated from Pembroke in 2002

  • having read history, and I'm now a historian and a journalist.

  • I'm Cath Bishop. I graduated in modern and medieval languages

  • from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1993.

  • After a career as an Olympic rower and a diplomat,

  • I now work as a leadership consultant.

  • And their captain. Hi, I'm Rick Edwards,

  • graduated in natural sciences from Pembroke, Cambridge in 2001

  • and I'm now a writer and broadcaster.

  • Hello. I'm Emma Johnson. I read music and English at Pembroke

  • and I'm a solo clarinettist, composter and arranger.

  • APPLAUSE

  • Playing them is the team from King's College, London,

  • which includes the co-founder of the Institute of Making,

  • which describes itself as a multidisciplinary research club

  • for people interested in making anything from soup to cities.

  • She's a panellist on Radio 4's The Kitchen Cabinet

  • and has recently presented BBC Four's The Secret Story of Stuff.

  • With her, a journalist, broadcaster and award-winning science writer

  • whose works include Geek Nation

  • and, more recently, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong.

  • At the age of 25, their captain

  • became one of the UK's youngest TV news editors.

  • Since then, she's presented numerous programmes

  • including The Westminster Hour and Any Answers? on Radio 4,

  • and on television, The Daily Politics.

  • She's also an author.

  • And finally, an Ivor Novello award-winner

  • whose scores for television and cinema include Jeeves and Wooster,

  • The Crying Game, Poldark, and The Full Monty,

  • for which she won an Oscar.

  • Let's meet the King's College, London team.

  • I'm Zoe Laughlin, I did my PhD in materials at King's College, London,

  • and I'm an artist, designer and materials engineer.

  • Hi. I'm Angela Saini, I received a Masters in science and security

  • from King's College, London in 2008,

  • and now I'm a science journalist.

  • And their captain. Hello. My name's Anita Anand.

  • present programmes about politics on Radio 4

  • and the Reith Lectures, and I write books about history and politics.

  • graduated from King's College with a BA in English.

  • Hello. I'm Anne Dudley. I was a postgraduate student at

  • King's College, studying for a Masters degree in musical analysis,

  • and now I'm a composer.

  • APPLAUSE

  • The rules never change on this show

  • so I'll just tell you that it's 10 points for starters,

  • 15 points for bonuses,

  • and if you interrupt a starter question incorrectly

  • you face a five-point penalty.

  • Fingers on the buzzers, here's your first starter for 10.

  • According to a tradition cited in the Encyclopaedia Britannica,

  • what seasonal item was created in the 19th century

  • by a Munich housewife who got fed up with being repeatedly asked,

  • "When will it be Christmas?"

  • The advent calendar. Correct.

  • You get a set of bonuses on Christmas-time gift-bearers.

  • Firstly, portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick,

  • the friendly La Befana in Italian folklore

  • derives her name from which Christian festival

  • observed on January 6th?

  • THEY CONFER

  • Pass.

  • It's Epiphany.

  • Secondly, known by similar names in other Nordic countries,

  • the Swedish julbok is a pre-Christian gift-bringer

  • in the form of what ruminant?

  • What's a ruminant? t's like a cow.

  • Reindeer? Cow? Reindeer?

  • Try reindeer.

  • Reindeer. No, it's a goat.

  • In which country does St Basil the Great,

  • one of the fathers of the Orthodox Church,

  • bring gifts at Christmas time?

  • THEY CONFER

  • Russia. No, it's Greece.

  • Right, ten points for this.

  • What seasonal plant links

  • the American writer played by Joseph Cotton in The Third Man,

  • a disembodied head in the TV series Red Dwarf,

  • and the socialite...

  • Holly. Correct.

  • Right, these bonuses, King's, are on photographs.

  • What popular title is given to the 1985 portrait

  • of the 12-year-old green-eyed refugee

  • later identified as Sharbat Gula?

  • It featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine.

  • t's the National Geographic girl n Afghanistan.

  • s it called Girl of Afghanistan? s that what it's called?

  • - Isn't it...? - Afghan Girl?

  • Er...shall we?

  • The Afghan Girl. Correct.

  • Give the word that completes the title of a 1951 photograph

  • by Ruth Orkin.

  • It shows a young woman, Ninalee Craig,

  • walking down a street and being noticed by a crowd of men.

  • American Girl in...

  • Paris?

  • American Girl in Paris? Yeah.

  • Paris. No, it's Italy.

  • And finally, the art dealer Robert Fraser,

  • often known as Groovy Bob,

  • appears handcuffed to which public figure

  • in a photograph that became the basis for

  • Richard Hamilton's work entitled Swingeing London 67?

  • THEY CONFER

  • Pass. He was handcuffed to Mick Jagger. Ten points for this.

  • Listen carefully. Each cracker on a Christmas dinner table

  • contains a coloured paper crown

  • taken from a choice of six colours.

  • How many crackers must be pulled

  • to be certain of obtaining at least two crowns the same colour?

  • Seven? Correct.

  • APPLAUSE

  • Right. Your first set of bonuses, Pembroke College,

  • are on trees listed on the website

  • of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

  • In each case, give the two-word name of the variety

  • from the description.

  • Firstly, "The traditional Christmas tree found in many of our homes.

  • "It is a Scandinavian variety

  • "with pointed mid-green needles standing on tiny pegs

  • "and long cylindrical brown cones which hang down."

  • THEY CONFER

  • Norwegian spruce? Correct.

  • "Introduced into Britain in 1830,

  • "it is a native of Washington and Oregon,

  • "where it grows to a great height.

  • "It has long, upswept blueish-grey needles

  • "at right angles to the twig."

  • THEY CONFER

  • Redwood pine?

  • No, it's the red fir, or noble fir.

  • Nearly, but not quite.

  • And finally, "a native of once-extensive Caledonian forests,

  • "it is our only native timber-producing conifer

  • "and has twisted blue-green needles found in pairs."

  • Scots pine? Correct.

  • We're going to take a picture round now.

  • For your picture starter, you're going to see

  • the tune of a Christmas carol in the key of C major

  • as it would be on a piano roll for a player piano.

  • The notes are to be read from left to right

  • with notes in a higher vertical position

  • being of higher pitch.

  • For ten points I want you to give me

  • the opening line of the carol represented.

  • "Joy to the world."