It has been a successful weekend for Cambridge University, beating the University of Oxford in the boat race and winning this season’s University Challenge.
On Saturday, viewers tuned in to see Cambridge win the race, beating rivals Oxford for the first time since 2007. The boat race has been a fixture since 1829, and has been held annually from 1856 (except between the war years).
Tonight saw further success, when Emmanuel College, Cambridge thrashed St. John’s College, Oxford by 315-100, and were presented with their trophy by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, ‘a bonus round herself’, according to presenter Jeremy Paxman.
With each season of the BBC show, certain contestants hold places in the viewers’ hearts. The prominence of social media now elevates some to viral celebrity status, and two of this season’s favourites took seats behind both desks in tonight’s final. Oliver Chen, originally from Austin Texas and a student at Oxford, is famed for his winning punch, first delivered in an earlier round of the show. Meanwhile Alexander Guttenplan is from London and a student at Cambridge, and has been celebrated for his rapid responses and his vast bank of knowledge. However he is most famous for answering Jeremy Paxman back when the host commended his answer as ‘a good guess’, replying ‘it wasn’t a guess’.
The new series starts later this year, and we can only hope that a new set of contestants from Southampton will get through the first round. The Vice-Chancellor may have plans to make Southampton a top-ten University, but that means nothing without a University Challenge success.