Who is Eric Monkman? All you need to know about the University Challenge finalist

The Wolfson College captain's team is set to take on friends and rivals at Balliol College, Oxford in the infamous quiz show final

Rachael Pells
Education Correspondent
Monday 10 April 2017 19:16
The 29-year-old Canadian economics graduate is the break-out star of the season
The 29-year-old Canadian economics graduate is the break-out star of the season

The 46th University Challenge final is underway, with scholars across the nation eagerly awaiting a familiar showdown between Oxford and Cambridge university teams.

This season has been explosive, with fans going into meltdown in anticipation for Joey Goldman’s face-off against unexpected hero Eric Monkman.

The Cambridge scholar has sent social media into meltdown in recent weeks thanks to his expressive face and vigorous approach to answering some of the toughest quiz show questions around.

Fans love him so much, there’s even an Etsy store selling t-shirts with his face on them.

In the semi-final against Emmanuel Collage, Cambridge, he scored an impressive 120 of his team's 170 points.

On Monday night he will face another cult hero of the series, Joey Goldman, of Balliol College, Oxford.

Tweeting before the show, Monkman said: “I have really appreciated the support that so many people have expressed for me.

”Thank you so much. I hope you all enjoy the match tonight.”

He is due to compete for the title of 46th series champion with his team mates Justin Yang, Ben Chaudhri and Paul Cosgrove.

Who is Eric Monkman?

Eric Monkman is a 29-year-old Canadian scholar and University Challenge team captain for Wolfson College, Cambridge.

He graduated with a Masters in Economics last year, and is currently job hunting in his Canadian home town of Oakville.

The son of two doctors, Monkman says he is the “odd one out” in his family, as he is squeamish over blood.

He has a girlfriend, Jiang Na, a professor of law at Beijing Normal University, and appeared on the BBC programme once before in September 2016.

According to Monkman, she finds his sudden celebrity status "a bit strange".

The economist's intense facial expressions and high level of enthusiasm has earned him widespread adoration, with Twitter fans bonding over the hashtag Monkmania.

In the semi finals, Eric led his team to victory over Emmanuel College captained by his close friend and rival Bobby Seagull.

The win, aired in March, was said to be the closest in 12 years and had viewers on the edge of their seats.

Monkman scored 120 of his team's 170 points and managed to get 18 of the 45 correctly answered questions.

Jeremy Paxman, the show's host congratulated both teams.

He said: “I will say only that you guys, all of you, of whatever gender, are very, very clever”.

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