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University Challenge: Fans go wild for Manchester’s Joe Hanson

A PhD student has become an overnight celebrity thanks to his theatrical facial expressions on University Challenge.

Manchester contestant Joe Hanson won viewers’ hearts with his quirky mannerisms – including jumping out of his seat each time the buzzer went off – during Monday night’s second round match.

Hanson, from Gravesend, Kent, was visibly tense as his team battled it out against Hertford College Oxford for a place in the quarter-finals of the BBC Two quiz show.

At one point the postgrad student, who is studying Data-Intensive Science at the University of Manchester, flinched dramatically when a rival contestant pressed the buzzer for the ten point starter question.

 Overnight celebrity: Joe Hanson, pictured, has won viewers’ hearts with his quirky mannerisms – including jumping out of his seat each time the buzzer went off – last night

Manchester student Joe Hanson (bottom right) was visibly tense as his team battled it out against Hertford College Oxford for a place in the quarter-finals of the BBC Two show

Manchester student Joe Hanson (bottom right) was visibly tense as his team battled it out against Hertford College Oxford for a place in the quarter-finals of the BBC Two show

Host Jeremy Paxman had asked what astronomical bodies had a nucleus of dust, frozen water, ammonia and methane according to US astronomer Fred Whipple’s 1950 hypothesis. 

Hertford’s Page correctly guessed the answer was comets, with the sound of his bell making Hanson jump dramatically. 

His performance did not go unnoticed by viewers at home, with one fan declaring Hanson her ‘spirit animal’ and others remarking on his ‘pure fear of the buzzer’.

One tweeted: ‘I am snorting at University Challenge, when Hanson jumped at the buzzer. He is me when I wake up every morning, remembering I’m alive.’ 

Expressive: The postgrad student, who is studying Data-Intensive Science at the University of Manchester, flinched dramatically when a rival contestant pressed the buzzer for the ten point starter question

Expressive: The postgrad student, who is studying Data-Intensive Science at the University of Manchester, flinched dramatically when a rival contestant pressed the buzzer for the ten point starter question

Star of the show: Hanson, from Gravesend, Kent, was visibly tense as his team battled it out against Hertford College Oxford for a place in the quarter-finals of the BBC Two quiz show

Star of the show: Hanson, from Gravesend, Kent, was visibly tense as his team battled it out against Hertford College Oxford for a place in the quarter-finals of the BBC Two quiz show

Twitter fame: Joe Hanson's performance did not go unnoticed by viewers at home, with one fan declaring Hanson her 'spirit animal' and others remarking on his 'pure fear of the buzzer'

Twitter fame: Joe Hanson’s performance did not go unnoticed by viewers at home, with one fan declaring Hanson her ‘spirit animal’ and others remarking on his ‘pure fear of the buzzer’

Twitter user Paula P. added: ‘Transfixed by young Mr #Hanson on #UniversityChallenge. His reactions while the questions are being read out make the lovely, much missed Monkman look reserved.’

It was just one of several comparisons to Cambridge academic Eric Monkman, who shot to fame on the quiz show and has since carved out a successful career as a TV and radio personality.  

Others joked the ‘jumpy’ contestant must have been stocking up on Haribo and Red Bull prior to his appearance on the show.   

Hanson won several comparisons to Cambridge academic Eric Monkman, who shot to fame on the quiz show and has since carved out a successful career as a TV and radio personality

Hanson won several comparisons to Cambridge academic Eric Monkman, who shot to fame on the quiz show and has since carved out a successful career as a TV and radio personality

Hanson’s team ultimately secured a comfortable victory, beating their Oxford rivals 185 to 115 and sailing through to the quarter finals. 

Luckily, Hanson saw the funny side and retweeted several posts about his UC appearance during Monday night’s episode, apologising for his ‘sleepless and anxious’ performance.

Earlier this month, King’s College London student Liam Tsang left viewers laughing out loud when he flinched in shock at the sound of the buzzer. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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