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University Challenge

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Brock
1416856.  Thu Aug 18, 2022 1:41 pm Reply with quote

With a new presenter of University Challenge just announced, and with the programme approaching its 60th anniversary, it occurs to me that the show could be a fruitful source of QI-style questions...


Q: How did they get one team to sit above the other?
A: By using a specially-constructed set.

For most of its life UC has used a split-screen effect, but for two series in 1986/7 the set was changed so that one team was physically above the other (and a rather strange "Pass the Baton" format was introduced for certain programmes). Both ideas were dropped when the BBC revived the series.

Q: How many episodes of University Challenge have been made by the BBC?
A: One.

The show was originally made by Granada for ITV. The only in-house BBC episode was a one-off special as part of a "Granadaland" theme night broadcast on BBC2 on 28 December 1992, between a team of "celebrity past contestants" (including QI's very own Stephen Fry) and a team from Keble College Oxford, the "reigning champions" when ITV axed the programme in 1987. When the BBC revived the programme in 1994, it was made by Granada TV as it always had been (subsequently ITV Studios).

Q: Why did one match end with only seven players?
A: Illness.

"In 1998, a match between LSE and Oxford Brookes University was cut short when a member of the Oxford team complained of feeling unwell. She was taken off to see the Granada nurse, who declared her unable to continue with the show. Since there were only three minutes of the game left, and LSE was winning by an unassailable margin of 245 points to 40, it was decided to simply go straight to the gong, and some technical trickery was used to superimpose the missing student in the now-vacant seat for the goodbyes at the end of the programme." (UK Game Shows)

I may think of others...

 
tetsabb
1416873.  Fri Aug 19, 2022 3:56 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:

Q: How did they get one team to sit above the other?
A: By using a specially-constructed set.



One naturally thinks of Scumbag vs Footlights

 
Brock
1416896.  Fri Aug 19, 2022 11:57 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:

One naturally thinks of Scumbag vs Footlights


That wasn't the first time that Griff Rhys Jones had impersonated Bamber Gascoigne. It wasn't even the funniest (in my view). Here's a clip from Radio 4's Injury Time in 1982, which is still one of the all-time classic radio comedy sketches as far as I'm concerned:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaXcXqvlx7M

Another little-known fact: Bamber Gascoigne actually returned to the BBC one last time in 1998 to chair a Red Dwarf-themed quiz entitled Universe Challenge. Whether you're a fan of Red Dwarf or not, it's worth watching the first few minutes just to see Chris Barrie's impression of Jeremy Paxman, and the audience's delighted reaction as the "real" host takes over:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFNy58-__BM

Bamber Gascoigne's favourite question (which I believe came from the above-mentioned 1992 special): "If A stands for artichoke, B for because, C for curriculum and D for do, what might E be for?"

The contestant guessed "elephant" and was amazed to be told that it was right. Bamber then explained that any word beginning with E would have done!

 
Alexander Howard
1417450.  Mon Aug 29, 2022 9:56 am Reply with quote

Bamber Gascoygne forced Britain's most celebrated aristocratic political dynasty to change their name.

The Cecil family, of whom the head is the Marquess of Salisbury, have been influential since William Cecil, then his son Robert, served Queen Elizabeth I. They have provided at least two Prime Ministers, a number of cabinet ministers, and Prime Minsters these days still find themselves invited to dine at Hatfield House. Such a famous name as Cecil - but Bamber Gascoygne made them change it.

Not that Bamber Gascoigne though, but a late Georgian, Lancastrian politician of the same family. The Second Marquess married his daughter and had to change his name to Gascoygne-Cecil as a condition of settling her inheritance.

 
Brock
1417451.  Mon Aug 29, 2022 10:07 am Reply with quote

Are you sure about the spelling? Wikipedia has "Gascoyne" and "Gascoyne-Cecil".

 
suze
1417472.  Mon Aug 29, 2022 4:42 pm Reply with quote

It was Gascoyne (-Cecil), yes. As is the way of aristos, the Salisbury family uses an idiosynratic pronunciation and pronounces the second element "Sissle" rather than "Sessle".

What I cannot at once discover is when the University Challenge branch of the family adopted the "French" spelling. The Salisburies still use Gascoyne, but UC Bamber Gascoigne's father was definitely Gascoigne so it happened at some point in the three intervening generations.

 
tetsabb
1417490.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:06 am Reply with quote

And what of that other branch of the family, Gascoigne d'Ascoigne???

 
Brock
1417491.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:13 am Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
And what of that other branch of the family, Gascoigne d'Ascoigne???


Funnily enough I was thinking about that film as well - but it was Ascoyne d'Ascoyne.

[Edited for crosspost]


Last edited by Brock on Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:22 am; edited 2 times in total

 
tetsabb
1417492.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:15 am Reply with quote

Yes, I just read the wiki page.
Close, but no banana....damn

 
Brock
1417493.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:21 am Reply with quote

Ah, but I have just this minute discovered that in the original book, Israel Rank, the family was called "Gascoyne" and one of the characters is called "Gascoyne Gascoyne":

http://www.british60scinema.net/book-to-film-adaptations-in-the-1960s/kind-hearts-and-coronets/

I didn't even know the film was based on a book, and I had no idea that the main character was originally half-Jewish rather than half-Italian. Must look into this further...

 
AlmondFacialBar
1417496.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 4:59 am Reply with quote

Weird, I didn't know about the book up to just now either, but have always thought of the banker as being Lord Gascoyne Gascoyne anyway. Must be the German dub I grew up with.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar


Last edited by AlmondFacialBar on Tue Aug 30, 2022 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
tetsabb
1417519.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 12:13 pm Reply with quote

Until I looked this morning, I had not known it was based on a book, either.
Utterly wonderful film.

 
AlmondFacialBar
1417522.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 12:22 pm Reply with quote

Ealing comedies FTW, basically. There's definitely a reason why, when I went to see Madness the other day, I picked out this particular t-shirt to buy.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Brock
1417528.  Tue Aug 30, 2022 1:02 pm Reply with quote

tetsabb wrote:
Until I looked this morning, I had not known it was based on a book, either.


Its full title is Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman, and it was published in 1907. Here's a review from the Spectator:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/unkind-hearts-and-jews

The link in my earlier post details the main differences between the plot of the book and the plot of the film. Understandably for a film made in 1949, the screenwriters wanted to avoid any possible accusations of anti-Semitism and so made the main character half-Italian rather than half-Jewish. I don't know why the name of the aristocratic family was changed (maybe to avoid offence to the real Gascoyne family?). The sequence of murders is somewhat different, with the more gruesome ones taken out and more obviously "comedic" ones added (e.g. Lady Agatha, who doesn't exist in the book).

What really surprised me was that the ending of the film was totally different from the one in the book, and almost certainly a great improvement. I won't say any more to avoid spoilers...

 

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