This is the big one. Arguably the most hotly anticipated clash of trivia titans in University Challenge’s 55-year history. A local derby that pits Emmanuel College against their Cambridge rivals Wolfson for a place in the final – but more importantly sees team captains Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman finally come face to face.
Seagull and Monkman are legends among University Challenge fans, Londoner Seagull for his charisma, style and – let’s be honest – mostly for his name, and Canadian Monkman for the ferocious intensity with which he answers questions, leading host Jeremy Paxman to compare him to “a revivalist preacher”.
As the pair got in front of the cameras for the traditional pre-match trash talk, fans were comparing the event to some of the greatest gladiatorial battles ever witnessed and even suggesting that the BBC might mitigate wider budgetary concerns by making it pay per view.
— Fill B????????????♂️????????????????♂️ (@baum_71) March 27, 2017
— Dave Williams ???????? ???????????? (@realdavedoubleu) March 27, 2017
— Little Frank (@only_a_puppet) March 24, 2017
— JP (@pamesjerry) February 13, 2017
If the government steps in and makes Monkman v Seagull pay per view they might be able to clear the national debt. #UniversityChallenge
— Karl Cunliffe (@KDCunliffe) March 20, 2017
But who is likely to come out on top? In terms of the teams, 2010 winners Emmanuel have to be favourites, having demolished their two quarter-final opponents 200 to 90 and 170 to 55, while Wolfson’s matches have involved far narrower victories and even one quarter-final loss.
When it comes to the battle of the personalities though, it’s a different matter. Many viewers feel that, when the dust settles, Eric Monkman will be the name on the public’s lips – and that #Monkmania will be more fervent than ever…
— Lil Jumbo Hoorah (@Marvin100) March 27, 2017
Today is the day! Monkman vs Seagull on University Challenge tonight. Will be supporting bulletproof monk, but sure it'll be a good fight!
— Chris Yapp (@yappattack) March 27, 2017
— Storm Garelli (@StormGarelli) March 27, 2017
University Challenge: Monkman v Seagull is on BBC2 at 8pm on Monday 27th March