University Challenge viewers tuning into the BBC quiz’s latest first round match found themselves distracted from Jeremy Paxman’s tricky questions by the broken eye-wear of one of the contestants.
Tom Sherlock, who uses the they/them pronoun, introduced themselves at the top of the show as an International Relations and Modern History student – but it was their beaten-up spectacles, rather than their intellect, that grabbed the attention of those watching at home.
The long-haired student wore a pair of clear, round-framed specs with strips of black tape holding said glasses together – leading some to compare Sherlock to Coronation Street’s erstwhile character Jack Duckworth, who famously wore glasses held together with tape in the soap.
One viewer described Sherlock’s appearance as ‘Twitter gold’ while many were concerned as to whether the glasses were still functioning.
Sherlock was part of the University of St Andrews team, where alumni include Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, which thrashed Darwin College, Cambridge by 255 to 90.
Contestant Tom Sherlock, an International Relations and Modern History student at St Andrews University, Scotland, left viewers of the latest episode of the quiz distracted after they appeared with black tape holding the glasses together
Eye-eye! Sherlock, who uses the ‘they/them’ pronoun, tweeted that he was ‘accepting donations’ for a new pair of specs as the show aired
Didn’t affect the brain cells! Sherlock’s team thrashed Darwin College, Cambridge, beating them 255 to 90 in the first round match
One viewer suggested the specs donned by Sherlock, @partsublimated on Twitter, might be a lucky charm for the Scottish university team after their easy win.
@DeeDeeH72 wrote: ‘What a performance! Those glasses need to remain for the full run. Think of them as your lucky socks.’
As the show aired, Sherlock took to Twitter after spotting their name appearing on Twitter, quipping: ‘I don’t have a PayPal but I’m accepting donations to fix my glasses.’
A new fan queried whether the glasses made it into round two. @LisaLewisWrites asked: ‘Please say they at least made it to the next round. Never thought a pair of glasses could be the best bit of a University Challenge episode!’
However, Sherlock later admitted that the glasses didn’t make it to the next round, such was the damage done to them. A friend of the university student then enlightened curious viewers that the specs had been damaged at a concert.
@pantiesinferno revealed: ‘Would like to inform everyone that my dear friend @partsublimated is not only an incredibly smart genius of a person, but they also broke their glasses in a mosh pit #UniversityChallenge.’
It’s already been a fascinating start to the latest series of the academic quiz.
Last week, Seoan Webb, who’s studying Ancient and Modern History at Oxford’s Corpus Christi College, wowed those watching with a ‘thousand-yard stare’ and a slew of correct answers – and was quickly tipped to be the star of this series.
Don’t mess! Oxford student Seoan Webb blew the competition out of the water in the latest episode of University Challenge, which saw his team defeat Bristol 175 to 135
The history student sparked a storm on social media as he glared at host Jeremy Paxman – and proceeded to get many questions right
Webb gained most of his team’s points after they conquered Bristol University 175 to 135.
Taking to Twitter, fans of the show hailed the 19-year-old as the ‘stand-out’ superbrain of the series – despite it only being the second round of the student quiz.
After some commented on his awkward body language and deeply intense stare, one of his former teachers, from Elthorne High School in Ealing, West London, asked viewers to ‘be kind’, saying her former student was a ‘phenomenon’.
Webb gained 10 A* at GCSE at the state school comprehensive in 2017.
Despite his steely demeanour on the show, she added that he was ‘the loveliest kid’.
London teacher @NikkiCDaniel wrote: ‘Seoan Webb is a phenomenon. The brightest person both Mark and I have ever taught and the loveliest kid. He is the real deal. Please twitter, be nice. Good luck #CorpusChristi’
The school’s library also tweeted, saying they were ‘proud’ of their former student.
Many were left in awe at Webb’s dominance of the episode, with his team-mates frequently heard saying ‘nominate Webb’.