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Jarvis' TV challenge not so sweet after marzipan flop

By Lynsey Bradford, Town Reporter Tuesday 24th December 2013
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis who appeared on University Challenge.

MP Dan Jarvis was flying the flag for Barnsley on last night's Christmas episode of University Challenge, though it didn't all go according to plan.


The Barnsley Central MP had been asked to represent his former university, Aberystwyth, on the popular general knowledge programme.


His teammates were Tim Brain, a scholarly and retired chief constable, now a visiting professor; Chris Leek, a director of Mensa and Plaid Cymru MP for Elfyn Llwyd. But he admits he was more than a little daunted by the prospect.


"It didn't go brilliantly well, but I did it because I wanted to raise some money for Barnsley Youth Choir who are wanting to go to the World Choir Championships in Latvia next year.


"The questions were very obscure, and consisted of complex maths equations, operas I had never heard of and three questions about specific types of German marzipan.


"I'm not going to beat myself up about it too much, because I don't think many people would know the answers to questions about German marzipan."


Mr Jarvis said he found the experience nervewracking, particularly as he'd not done much swatting beforehand.


"It's been such as busy year, I didn't really prepare and it probably showed. I had a non-preparation preparation strategy.


"They were all 25 years older than me and I knew I was going to struggle.


"The team we were up against were the most professionally well-drilled quiz team that I've ever come across.


"I don't think "'ll be going back on it, but if I did, I would do a bit more."


Despite some gentle ribbing from colleagues in Parliament, Mr Jarvis raised £500 for the choir and a homeless charity helping people with nowhere to live at Christmas.

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