Did you cry at the end of Bamber?

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The Independent Culture
There's no Bamber and it's on the Beeb, but somehow they pulled it off. The recommissioned and revitalised University Challenge (8.30pm BBC2) will crown its champions tonight and once again the nation's swotty spotties have an extra incentive to make those grades.

OK, so maybe Paxo does bring just a touch too much of the Deaytons to the Gascoigne seat of learning - "mmm, noooo, that's something completely different" and "don't be silly" - but the most essential Challenge element remains.

It is, quite simply, the highbrow equivalent of professional wrestling. Be it by accident or design, each round seems to bring together one team of hairy, working-class slobs, and another comprising four well-groomed, impeccably attired mummy's boys (and, yes, on both teams it is almost always boys).

Cheer as the hippie from Birmingham gets a starter for 10. Boo as the sneering, chinless nob from Oxford - a Cabinet minister before he's 40, no doubt - does the same. And even tonight's final which is (the BBC's management will be delighted to see) an Oxbridge affair, adheres to the format.

Take one look at the teams before they so much as open their mouths and it is immediately clear who are the intellectual Big Daddies, and who the sons of Mick McManus. If you have jeers, prepare to hurl them now.

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