I was delighted to see that Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson appeared on BBC Television’s Christmas University Challenge late last year, representing Queen Mary. The Christmas version is a slightly easier celebrity take on the regular University Challenge, which Canadians can think of as an extremely difficult university-level version of Reach for the Top.
Bruce did very well and contributed a lot to the team, and Queen Mary won, but didn’t make it through to the semi-finals because their score wasn’t high enough compared to other winners.
Bruce introduced himself thus:
Hi, I’m Bruce Dickinson and I graduated in 1978 with a Desmond in modern history, and I ended up being a heavy metal singer, an airline pilot, [also] I brew beer, and I’m just about to discover what does this button do at this quiz.
(A Desmond is rhyming slang for a 2:2 in the UK university marking scheme.)
Above, he has just buzzed to answer this starter for ten:
“Young man, with your devastating good looks and disastrous lack of talent, you should take any job offered to you.” This advice was given by Noël Coward to which actor, who died in 2017. The actor in question once described his range as “left eyebrow raised, right—”
Bruce cut off host Jeremy Paxman with the correct answer: Roger Moore.
In a later question, Bruce stared into space as he tried to remember the answer.
Here he is regretting that he didn’t recognize the Fine Young Cannibals song “She Drives Me Crazy.” However, he did know that Mick Ronson played guitar on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Here he is answering correctly that nickel, like iron, is magnetic at room temperature (the only other one being cobalt).
Nickel, of course, is metal.