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The Quiz of Britain

 Image: Grace Gay for Research Professional News. Sources: Getty Images

Ivory Tower: the ultimate game show, universities and research edition

The lights go up in the studio, theme tune rolls, Rishi Sunak in a tight suit stands between two teams.

Rishi: Welcome to this higher education special of the Quiz of Britain: the country where you don’t have to go to university to succeed, but it helps if you went to Oxford and Stanford. This is the show that combines all quiz formats into one. Let’s meet the teams. On my right are the blues, Gillian and Michelle. Hello.

Gillian and Michelle: Hello.

Rishi: Correct answer, 10 points.

Gillian: Thanks.

Rishi: Have a bonus honour with that.

Michelle: Thanks.

Rishi: You are very welcome. And on my left are the reds, Bridget and Peter. Where are you from?

Bridget: Sunderland.

Rishi: [claxon sounds] And that’s our first pointless answer of the day. I’m sorry you lose whatever money you had.

Bridget: But…?

Rishi: Gillian or Michelle, would you like to come in and steal that money for wherever it is you are from?

Michelle: A well-off constituency in the south.

Rishi: That is the correct answer. Would you like to try for a levelling-up bonus?

Michelle: Yes, please.

Rishi: That’s been added to your account, well done.

Peter: Hold on, what’s going on here?

Rishi: We are playing round one, funding formula. Peter, tell me where are you from?

Peter: The south of England: Hove.

Rishi: [A claxon sounds] You are the weakest link. Remember, stay in the blue and out of the red, there’s nothing in this game for wokes under the bed. Would you like to go for the National Prosperity Fund?

Peter: Yes, please.

Rishi: That’s the wrong answer, I’m afraid. I’m going to have to pass it over to the blue team.

Gillian: Thanks.

Rishi: You’re welcome. Here’s your starter for 10.

Bridget: Hold on!

Rishi: Sorry, you interrupted the question, Bridget, you lose five points.

Bridget: That’s unfair.

Rishi: Say what you see.

Bridget: Err… It’s biased, it’s corrupt, it’s unfair [buzzer sounds].

Michelle: Repetition.

Rishi: Well spotted, Michelle. Yes, repetition of “unfair” there Bridget. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Peter: Literally, you do.

Rishi: I’ve started so I’ll finish. Michelle and Gillian, would you like to try for a bonus?

Gillian: Yes, please.

Rishi: That’s in the bank. I’ve removed the cap on the banker’s bonus. Deal or no deal?

Michelle: I’ll take the deal.

Rishi: Good call, especially if you have recently had to settle a libel claim after falsely accusing an academic of extremism.

Peter: This game is rigged.

Rishi: That’s a correct answer, would you like to try for the follow-up?

Peter: Yes, please.

Rishi: Who’s behind the mask?

Peter: Sorry?

Rishi: I’m going to hand it over to Michelle and Gillian.

Gillian: Thanks.

Rishi: You’re welcome. You are doing a bloody good job, by the way, has anyone ever said that?

Gillian: No.

Rishi: That’s another correct answer.

Bridget: What is this, the 1 per cent club?

Rishi: That’s on ITV, so I’m afraid you lose a point.

Peter: What if it had been on the BBC?

Rishi: Then you’d lose two points. Honestly, am I the only person who can do maths round here?

Michelle: Yes.

Rishi: That’s another correct answer, so bonus point for me.

Peter: What a farce.

Rishi: Would I lie to you?

Gillian: No.

Rishi: Another correct answer from Gillian. Would Michelle like to try for a bonus?

Michelle: Go on.

Rishi: Are you a traitor or a faithful?

Michelle: Err… I didn’t send a letter to the 1922 Committee, if that’s what you mean.

Rishi: Just checking. Now, it’s time for round two, Tipping Point.

Bridget: I think we’re beyond that, aren’t we?

Rishi: Peter and Bridget, you are behind, so you can go first.

Peter: Makes a change.

Rishi: Well done, you’ve spotted the deliberate mistake. Would you like to stick or twist?

Peter: Twist.

Rishi: That’s the wrong answer, I’m afraid. Over to the other side: higher or lower?

Michelle: Definitely higher, Rishi.

Rishi: That’s the correct answer. The question was, of course, which unprotected budget would be first in line for cuts after the election and the answer was, inevitably, higher education. Would you like to pick a bonus category, Michelle?

Michelle: Science and research.

Rishi: That’s also correct, science and research would be in line for cuts too. Can you make the connection?

Michelle: Things that happen in a university?

Rishi: That’s correct, and you were speaking when the buzzer went, so at the end of that round you also get a bonus point. Tell me, Michelle, if we have to make public spending cuts after the election, what would you do?

Michelle: Nominate Gillian.

Rishi: Another correct answer.

Gillian: Hold on, what about the apprentices?

Rishi: That’s another show.

Bridget: You’re fired.

Rishi: Ridiculous!

Bridget: Have I got news for you.

Rishi: Time for round three, the end game.

Peter: It certainly is.

Rishi: Bridget, pick a category.

Bridget: University Challenge.

Rishi: I’m sorry, the answer was Scrapheap Challenge. I can see how you got confused there. I’m going to hand it over to Gillian and Michelle. Gladiators, ready?

Michelle: Always.

Rishi: That’s the correct answer. For a bonus point, who wants to be a billionaire?

Gillian: Michelle Mone?

Rishi: I’ll take that, but the answer I’ve got on the card is, in fact, me.

Peter: Just a minute!

Rishi: That’s another show, entirely. So, we have to say goodbye to Peter and Bridget. Have you enjoyed the last 14 years?

Bridget: No, I don’t think anyone has.

Rishi: Peter, what are you looking forward to after the show?

Peter: Total wipe-out?

Rishi: Michelle and Gillian, once again the blues are this week’s winners. Who is going to join me for the big money finale?

Gillian: Frank Hester?

Rishi: I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue.

Michelle: We know that, so I’ll play the final round this week.

Rishi: Join me here, Michelle. Which wall would you like to choose?

Michelle: I think we’ve lost the red wall already, so let’s go blue.

Rishi: OK, we asked a survey of 1,000 UK adults to describe British science; you said…

Michelle: Superpower.

Rishi: Our survey said…[Uh-uh] Bad luck, Michelle, let’s see if you can do any better on the next one. We asked a survey of 1,000 UK adults to describe British universities; you said…

Michelle: World leading.

Rishi: Our survey said… [Uh-uh] Never mind, Michelle, one final question, let’s see how you do on this. We asked a survey of 1,000 UK adults to describe the British government; you said…

Michelle: Can I phone a friend?

Rishi: I’m sorry, since the start of the show I’ve changed phones several times and lost all the WhatsApp messages.

Michelle: Can I go 50-50?

Rishi: I’ve seen the MRP polling for your constituency, so I’d say you were pretty much there. I’m going to have to press you for an answer…

Michelle: Pointless? [klaxon goes off]

Rishi: That’s the correct answer! You are this week’s winner, congratulations. Here are your prizes, two free bets on the date of the general election. When do you think the next one will be?

Michelle: 2029?

Rishi: Say goodnight, Michelle.

Michelle: Goodnight, Michelle.

Titles roll, music plays, audience cheers.

Terms of use: this is a free email for fun on a Friday, it should be shared with friends and family like your weird uncle’s dodgy Facebook post about why he reckons Nigel Farage has a point. Want to be a contestant on the next series of the Quiz of Britain? Want to say hello? Email ivorytower@researchresearch.com