“It’s Brandon vs Wang”: Viewers react to BBC Two’s University Challenge finale

There could only be one winner in this clash of the (quiz) titans...

Screenshot, University Challenge

Viewers would be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu during last night’s University Challenge finale on BBC Two, hosted by Jeremy Paxman.


Just a few years on from the epic showdown between rival contestants Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman, Monday night’s finale between Imperial College and Corpus Christi, Cambridge was all about two more quiz giants set to go head-to-head.

Cambridge’s Ian Wang, nicknamed ‘Grandmaster Wang’ for his ability to quickly identify 80s pop tunes, and Imperial’s Brandon Blackwell – a native New Yorker and veteran quizzer – had both already emerged as breakout stars in this year’s series, and the finale saw their respective (all-male) teams battle it out for the grand prize.

The showdown was already being touted as “Brandon vs Wang” on social media, with viewers eager to see how they would fare against one another.

“Brandon vs Wang. It’s the Foreman vs Ali of televised nerdery,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

However, the episode proved to be more of an anti-climax for some viewers…

Within the first ten minutes, Imperial was up by 100 points, while Corpus Christi was flailing on just -5. By the end of the episode, Imperial had triumphed with 275 points to their rival’s 105 points.

Brandon posted on Twitter shortly after the finale, praising both his Imperial teammates and Cambridge rivals, and adding that it “was wildly humbling & a great honor to meet Prof [Andrew] Wiles,” the noted mathematician who presented Imperial with their trophy.

Several viewers also took to Twitter to praise the episode’s unsung hero, Imperial’s team captain Caleb Rich.

“All eyes were on Brandon and Wang but this man Rich was on fire,” a fan posted on Twitter.

Wang also took to Twitter to offer “massive congratulations to the Imperial team who gave a dazzling performance and who fully earned their win”.

Former University Challenge rivals Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman have since gone on to become firm friends and even co-present TV series – could this be the start of a beautiful friendship between ‘Grandmaster’ Wang and Brandon?


If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.