A wise man once said: “For me to be attracted to a woman, she has to be just as intelligent or slightly less intelligent than me”, writes by Paul Naylor.
Those words of wisdom – from Ricky Gervais’s masterful creation David Brent – resonate every time I see a certain TV presenter on a particular show.
The programme I refer to is Only Connect (BBC2), with its presenter, Victoria Coren.
Normally languishing on highbrow BBC4, albeit in a prime-time slot, Only Connect has transferred to BBC2 for the champion of champions strand.
So, from the comfort of my sofa, I joined the buxom, poker supremo – wife of comedy actor David Mitchell – in pitting my wits against the two teams. The Gamblers, winners of series three, were taking on series four winners, The Epicureans.
Amazingly, these six brain-boxes all looked pretty normal. Not a twitch or zany bow tie in view. I could be onto a winner here.
Get your coat Victoria because it’s quiz time. Round one: random connections.
Question one. What is the connection between B-33920, FF8282, C.3.3. and 46664?
Apparently these are famous prisoner numbers. Okay, not my bag. Let’s move on.
Number two. Connect the following: Nero, Mary Portas, Alan Cumming and Elton John.
Erm, this isn’t going so well. The answer is they each have married both a man and woman. Bear with me Victoria. There is a brain in here somewhere. Honest.
Having drawn another blank on the following set of four photos, it was on to an equally obscure selection of music. What if I said you had nice eyes Vicky? Oh forget this section.
In the second round, sequences of clues should enable the contestants to identify the fourth and final of a set. Simples.
Opera, matinee, princess . . ? Of course, the final answer is choker - as in necklace/chain lengths. Is it just me, or is this impossible?
Perhaps the third round, the connecting wall, will prove more me.
Finally, I get something right, connecting four BBC documentary strands to earn a massive two points.
And surely young Coren is warming to me now as I triumph yet again with Hunt, Hill, Clark and Mansell. I knew watching cars going round and round and round on an F1 track would come in use some day.
With just one round to go the Epicureans have 15 points; Gamblers are on 17 and I am on a roll with four.
Come on missing vowels round.
Well, it was another decent showing from me, scoring a respectable enough eight.
But, in the end, I was well and truly beaten into third with my 12 points looking a little sad against The Gamblers 22 and Epicureans winning score of 28.
It had been a tough half hour of TV and next up was University Challenge with Mr Shouty himself, Jeremy Paxman.
Paxo may have been minus the beard, but some of the contestants had interesting facial hair, particularly the men. I still love the fact that the crazier you look, the more intelligent you tend to be on this show.
By the end of this 30 minutes of madness I landed 30 points against Brasenose, Oxford’s 105 and Manchester University’s 215. Thank goodness I recognised Rik Mayall as Alan B’Stard.
With an hour of brain-bashing behind me I had amassed the sort of score that would trouble few serious quiz teams and have Mensa boffins wiping tears from their whiskery cheeks.
So, Victoria, it appears on reflection that you may be out of my league.
There was nothing else for it.
I flicked over to Channel Five. Ahh yes, Celebrity Big Brother was playing out.
Hello? Who is this? Courtney Stodden? I think we’ve found a level folks, I think we’ve found a level.