Did we like it?
While it’s presented by the lovely Victoria Coren, don’t bother tuning in unless you have a degree from Oxford University in Senseless Trivia Useful to People Who Live in Chiswick and a Masters from Cambridge University in Stuff Only Posh People Care About and Is Otherwise Utterly Useless in the Evolution of Humankind.
What was good about it?
• Victoria Coren is such a cherishable treasure. In much the same way as God expelled all of the evil from his being, forming from that evil Lucifer Morningstar before condemning him to eternal damnation in Hell, it’s almost as if Anne Robinson has sieved out all the milk of human kindness and from it sculpted Ms Coren before exiling her to an eternity on BBC4.
• Watching it, there is a faint urge deep inside the most atavistic chambers of the mind to scuttle down to the local train station, purchase a copy of the Times and embark on a needless trip to London, all the while sitting cross legged filling in all the crosswords, occasionally ejaculating a condescending chuckle at your own stupidity for not instantaneously knowing the name of Tchaikovsky’s tailor.
• We did get one question right – the sites of the Seven Wonders of the World.
What was bad about it?
• The fact that the two teams must choose from question board labelled with letters from the Greek alphabet gives a pretty good idea of what type of school you need to have attended in order to participate in the guessing – it makes University Challenge resemble GMTV phone-in quizzes.
• The gentle but awkward geniality of introducing two teams in a studio that is emptier than a vacuum.
• There are a few concessions to the proletariat in the way of questions about Thunderbirds and the Seven Plagues, but by that stage you’ve already become so accustomed to esoteric circumlocution about “Pythagorean triplets” that you just don’t anticipate something as ‘low brow’ as unrealistic puppets would be considered for this show.
• Even when we got a connection – the Seven Plagues – we soon realised that we needed to guess the next one in the sequence rather than simply guessing the topic itself.
• The last Missing Vowel round contained some words we wouldn’t have known even if the vowels had been put in.