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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.”

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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!