‘I cut off Paxman ... it was a proud moment’

Rob Hayman
Rob Hayman

MOST viewers tend to be happy if they get more than one question right on University Challenge.

So for Leigh student Rob Hayman it was a relief when he managed to get quite a few correct - and he was actually on the show.

The 20-year-old appeared on the BBC2 show last week along with his teammates from Bristol University to take on St John’s College, Oxford.

He said: “ I’ve always enjoyed watching TV quiz shows and doing pub quizzes with my friends and University Challenge is seen as the ultimate one. I never imagined that I’d ever be sat in such an iconic studio though.

“The best word that I’ve found to describe it is surreal! To be sat behind the desk a few metres away from Jeremy Paxman with the cameras and audience there was just extraordinary and definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

“The strangest moment though is hands down when we were being led to the studio. I walked through a set of doors and Paxman was just stood there waiting for a lift, so we joined him! We were all too awestruck to say anything to him.”

“The university set up some preliminary quizzes for anyone interested so they could narrow down everyone who applied to a final team of four, plus a reserve.

“After that, there were interviews with the show producers, endless pub quizzes and reading lists of trivia to prepare for the show.”

Rob, who is originally from Kirkham Road, Pennington, was in his second year at Bristol when the show was filmed but has now left and is studying Chemistry at Leeds.

“The best bit about the show was getting questions right. I managed to get a few “Bristol, Hayman”s too which was a very nice feeling,” he said.

“When I sat down to watch it, I honestly couldn’t remember if I’d got any right, so it was a pleasant surprise. Apparently I cut Paxman off mid-sentence at one point too, which is something to be proud of.

“I watched it with my flatmates at Leeds, although I kept getting Facebook messages from people in Leigh and Bristol saying they were watching and cheering me on.

“My family were in the audience for the actual recording though.”

Unfortunatley Bristol were unable to beat St John’s and just missed out on getting through to the losers’ playoffs.