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I went to see "Starter for 10" today.

In England, there's a television show called "University Challenge." In the show, the equivalent of Division 1A universities compete against each other in teams of four (usually really nerdy individuals). They answer general knowledge questions that ask students to identify everything from old castles, soccer teams, classical and pop musicians, authors and the products of chemical reactions. The show was hosted by Bamber Gascoigne (a name which cracks people up), and when the questions were asked, both teams would be asked a "Starter for 10." If a team answered a question correctly, they'd be asked 3 supplementary questions worth 5 each.

In this film, which is set in the mid-1980s, James McAvoy (the guy who played the doctor in the Forest Whitaker/Idi Amin film) plays an ernest young working class lad who becomes the first kid in his family to go to university. We see him go through the whole first year at university thing (meeting girls independent of school and parent, jumping on causes that interest him etc. etc.) and enter University Challenge thing with a team from his university. Sure enough there's the standard love story front and center in the film, with this film being odd only because it's a guy who has to pick between 2 girls.

I liked the film, but largely because I did my undergrad degree 3yrs or so after the character here did his. Consequently, I recognized all the music and could identify with the causes he became interested in (and the dorkier elements of his character if I'm honest). I'm not quite sure what to think about the fact that they've made a film about the period I "reached maturity" though. It sort of made me feel old.

Incidentally, the music at the start of the film was the theme tune to University Challenge.

Oh and another thing, the show went off the air in the early 1990s, but was revived in about 2000. In this second incarnation, because they were worried that the current crop of students only knew stuff they'd been forced to learn for exams (where've we heard that folks), they redefined teams so that teams of doctors were pitted against lawyers and architects etc. in one season, and used teams of graduates from years gone by in another. 

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jamiebowen0306
jamiebowen0306

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