The Brainiest Woman in Britain

University Challenge  – The Final


The media hype that has surrounded University Challenge, and finalist Gail Trimble, has been amazing this past week.  Many of the newspapers, as well as the BBC of course, have been commenting on Gail Trimble.  Is she really the cleverest woman in Britain?  Do we love her or loather her because of her cleverness?

Just why Ms Trimble has become so newsworthy is a bit of a mystery.  Certainly she is very knowledgeable, having single-handedly won more than half of her team’s 1,2000 points in the previous rounds of University Challenge.  Yet why do some quarters of the press dislike her?  Is this really because she is a clever woman?  Or do some just take umbrage with her because she can come across as arrogant? Better judges of human character will realise that she is just nervous and a bit shy….she is on national telly for goodness sakes, who wouldn’t be nervous?

The Final unfolds
Of course, the most pressing question for the team from Corpus Christi, Oxford was whether Gail Trimble could handle the pressure of this media hype and lead them to victory in the University Challenge Final against Manchester University?

This quiz had some very tough questions, as is appropriate for a final.  Manchester got off to a great start and quickly led by 70 point to nil. But then the Corpus Christi team – not just Gail Trimble – began their fight back, answering questions on Shakespeare, Dutch universities and dog breeds.  The team from Oxford came from behind to beat Manchester by 250 points to 190. This was quite a thrilling University Challenge Final – with both teams displaying an amazing amount of knowledge. 

The BBC is the real winner
One positive side effect for the BBC of all the controversy surrounding Ms Trimble was that it boosted the programme’s viewing figures up to around six million viewers.  Usually, University Challenge has just 2 million viewers. It would seem that for the BBC at least, publicity (both good and bad) really does payoff.

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