University Challenge viewers saw the funny side as the first of the Christmas specials ended in a “thrashing”.
Contestants who had once studied at Durham took on former students from Keble College, Oxford, in the festive edition of the BBC Two show, with comedian Katy Brand and musician Rod Clements among those taking part.
The Keble contenders – Brand, former child prodigy Anne-Marie Imafidon, writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies – ran away with the competition from the outset.
At the end they had racked up 220 points to Durham’s 35.
Many fans took to Twitter to comment on Durham’s poor performance, with some joking that the team’s buzzers must have been broken.
“Are Durham awake??” asked one person.
“Are Durham’s buzzers working?” said another.
One person quipped: “No wonder the pink panther left Durham.”
“Ashamed to be associated with Durham right now,” confessed another.
Fans were particularly impressed with screenwriter and novelist Cottrell-Boyce.
“This Cottrell-Boyce man knows everything in the world,” said one whilw another called him “unstoppable”.
The festive specials will see more than 50 prominent alumni from 14 universities and university colleges take part, including Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, broadcaster Adrian Chiles, Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke and Springwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games.
Each team will compete in one of seven first-round matches, after which the four teams with the highest winning scores will face each other in two semi-finals. The winners of each of those ties will then face off for the title of series champions.