Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
11 April 2017

University Challenge winners boycott interview with “fascist rag” Daily Mail

It’s goodbye from Balliol.

By Media Mole

Just when your mole thought this year’s festival of chirpy violins and adolescent anxiety couldn’t get any more exciting, University Challenge 2017 has created EVEN FURTHER drama.

The Daily Mail is the latest victim of the annual battle of the brains – joining all university teams that aren’t from Oxford or Cambridge, and the entire television-watching nation’s pride, as collateral damage.

A reporter from the paper asked members of the winning team from Balliol College, Oxford, if they would talk to her for a piece about the result. What she probably didn’t expect from the meek participants in one of Britain’s cosiest institutions was this rather robust response:

History student Freddy Potts replied: “I have nothing against you personally, but equally I have nothing to say to the fascist rag that employs you.”

 Astrophysics DPhil Benjamin Pope outlined the team’s press policy: “Hi! As a team, we won’t be interviewed by the Mail. We know it’s not your fault, but we must ethically boycott that hateful publication.”

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Your mole rather admires the reporter for switching angles when forced to take a different approach to speaking to the winners: “Student equality campaigners slam all-male University Challenge final blaming ‘hostile’ world of quiz societies”, was the resulting piece.

Well played, all!