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Hippies versus squares! Hippies win!NEOLITHIC SWOTATHON, kicking off on radio in 1948, before inevitable cathode-ray crossover come early 60s. Early incarnation needlessly complicated, with GEOFFREY WHEELER and DAVID DIMBLEBY in opposing assembly halls setting questions in turn, before sensible single host option adopted later in decade. PADDY FEENY, JOHN EDMUNDS and JOHN DUNN also compered. Grammar-school friendly institution, with only occasional presence of “new” comprehensive representatives. Prize was simply “taking part”, the swines.



  1. Robbie Fields

    March 27, 2011 at 8:27 am

    “Hippies versus squares! Hippies win!”

    reads the photo caption. Umm, we were winning when the photo was snapped but then our team (Holland Park) was torpedoed by some poor calls made by the producers. My answer of Lee Kwan Yew was disallowed and our team answer of the “Marianas Trench” as the deepest part of the world’s oceans was ruled incorrect in favour of “Challenger Depth”.

    In the end the “Hippies” were too laid back on the day!

    Oh, I think that particular year, the BBC were promising a trip to Vancouver for the series winners. After we had demolished the Kingsbury team in the first round, we thought we might enjoy a long run.

    Even though we were one of the token comprehensive school teams, both Hilary Benn (2nd from left) and myself (far right) had some Westminster in our backgrounds.

    From late 1969.

  2. Tellycabbage

    March 27, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Fight the system, man! What is it with politicians and swotty game shows?

    Hillary Benn on here and I’m sure Widdecombe did Unversity Challenge…

  3. Lesley Higson

    August 6, 2013 at 6:35 am

    What wouldn’t be obvious from your photo from later in the series is that initially there was an age range across each team. I know this because I was the `little one’ on one of the teams from the very first show transmitted and hadn’t by then had time to develop any recognised persona or stance as it seems – from the initial comment above – that the contestants in later (similar-aged) teams did.

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