Friday 23 March 2018

Eric Monkman: I don’t really talk like I did on University Challenge

Eric Monkman was worried he wouldn’t answer questions loudly enough on the quiz show.

Eric Monkman (BBC Radio 4)
Eric Monkman (BBC Radio 4)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association

University Challenge star Eric Monkman has said the distinctive, bellowing voice he used on the show was not his own, but was actually down to the stress of being on television.

The Cambridge graduate was a huge hit with viewers of this year’s series of the BBC quiz and was known for his expressive manner and lacking an “indoor voice” as he answered host Jeremy Paxman’s questions.

But he told Radio Times magazine the tone was not his usual one, explaining: “When you’re on TV it’s very stressful.

“I don’t normally talk in that tone, but with most of my answers I was just trying to make myself heard.

“When it was an answer I knew well, I delivered it with passion.”

Monkman, 29, now a trainee financial journalist at The Economist, said he “practised speaking up because you had to make sure the person on the other end of the table could hear you”.

He said: “You didn’t want your team or Jeremy Paxman saying, ‘Hey, what was that?’

“So you got used to delivering your answers with a fair bit of volume.”

Canadian Monkman created a buzz on social media thanks to his stellar performance, with the hashtag #Monkmania going viral and fans declaring their love for him.

He said it was difficult to get used to all the attention.

“It was weird that people were talking about me in Britain, but I was in Canada for most of the time and nobody paid much attention to me there,” he said.

“It took me a while to get used to people talking about how you say things, how you look.

“I finally realised, though, that people kind of liked me. People on Twitter would say, ‘Thanks for brightening up our Mondays’.”

:: This week’s Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.

Press Association

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