The hit BBC Radio 4 quiz show The 3rd Degree is recording tonight at the University of Hertfordshire’s Forum, Friday 16th March at 5.40 pm, where you can be part of the audience FOR FREE! We can tell you about it ourselves, by why not hear from host Steve Punt himself?
Steve is a British actor, comedian, and writer who, along with Hugh Dennis, hosts The Now Show on BBC Radio 4, and has worked on shows including Mock The Week and Would I Lie To You? The Trident caught up with him before the show, to find out a little bit more about the show and why you as a University of Hertfordshire student should really come along and watch!
So, for those that don’t know, what’s BBC Radio 4’s The 3rd Degree all about?
“It’s a quiz recorded at a different university every week, and it’s students versus their lecturers… it’s essentially a generational quiz, so clearly unfair, but the show tries to balance it with the format.
“There’s something very heartening about people that know stuff. You get it at school: there’s an infectiousness about an enthusiasm for a subject, and an understanding in the audience that just because you don’t know about it, it’s good someone else does — if you’re on a plane, you want to it to be with someone who knows aerospace engineering!”
“A lot of modern quizzes are about trivia, but this quiz is more where trivia veers into being proper knowledge. Having said that, it is fun – it’s not university challenge, in the sense that the atmosphere is not so serious.”
Do you often find the older professors surprise you with their knowledge of popular culture?
“Sometimes they do, and that’s because they have children of their own. In my experience, the difficult age is when you’re grown up but don’t have kids yet, because you don’t have access with the world of school. When you have kids of your own, you’re reintroduced to it.
“So, yes, sometimes the academics do surprise you, but other times they totally live up to their stereotype, which is always fun. I think that element surprise, though, is what makes the show: one time we had an opera question, and everyone assumed a student wouldn’t know it, but actually got it right.“I guess the show proves that you shouldn’t make assumptions about what people do and don’t know!”
What makes a really good episode of The 3rd Degree?
“I think when students win, as that’s relatively rare, but it does happen and that’s always very satisfying – it’s often because a professor doesn’t know about Grand Theft Auto, or something like that.
“I also love the spontaneity of the show. You can script jokes and such, but the best bits are always unscripted. Discovering odd things about the candidates are also interesting: if a professor suddenly answers a question about Tomb Raider, you ask “How did you know that?!”
“Another thing is the list’s round, where you have to come up with eight examples of things; it’s eight points, so if you muck that one up you can fall behind. I find that round really interesting, as some really clever people can go completely blank… it’s not always about what you know, but how you act under pressure.”
Why should people attend the Hertfordshire’s edition of The Third Degree tonight?
“You should support your fellow students, as doing this isn’t easy! One thing I say to the audience before recording is that the academics will be used to be in front of an audience, but students won’t necessarily be, so it’s nice to support them in the audience.
“It’s also a unique experience being in the audience, because when the show’s on the air it’s edited – the great radio secret, really! It’s roughly twice as long when we record it, as people need time to think, which is cut out; the edit makes it look very quick.”
Contestants will include three University of Hertfordshire students from three different schools, including Caz (Caroline) Sundberg-Downey from the School of Humanities, Francis Walker from the School of Engineering and Technology, and Ryan McGrath Johnston from the School of Computer Science.
These brave students will face three lecturers: Dr. Saskia Kersten of the School of English Language and Communication in the School of Humanities, Dr. Matt Goodro of the School Of Engineering And Technology, and Dr. Len Noriega of the School of Computer Science.
So, what are you waiting for? Come along at 5.40 pm tonight to the Forum, and join over 30 universities who have participated in a live recording of The 3rd Degree!