University Challenge tells students to ditch kettle
Host Jeremy Paxman amused by Goldsmiths’ kettle mascot, but producers deem political stunt inappropriate
The Jeremy Paxman-hosted student quiz University Challenge is the subject of unusual controversy after it refused to allow four Goldsmiths students to use their mascot during pre-recording sessions last weekend.
They wanted to put a white kettle on their table as a sign of their disapproval of police crowd control tactics used against student protesters, which involve forcefully penning people into an area - or 'kettling'.
Kettling was used to control students protesting against tuition fees in December last year. Police were criticised when it emerged that many people were refused permission to leave for the toilet or to get food or water. Supporters of kettling argue that it is for the protesters' own benefit, and protects the police and general public.
A spokesperson for the studios where BBC Two's University Challenge is filmed told the Daily Telegraph that although teams were normally allowed mascots, "it was deemed not appropriate to have the kettle".
James Hayward, campaigns officer at Goldsmith's student union in south London, said that everyone was laughing when the students were told their mascot was not acceptable. Apparently Paxman "immediately cottoned onto the joke and found it very funny".
Comments are now closed on this article