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University Challenge icons Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull road trip through England, showcasing an assortment of remarkable inventions.

University Challenge icons and real-life best friends Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull are on a road trip with a difference. Feeding their insatiable appetite for knowledge, they visit Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales in search of hidden gems of British scientific and technological ingenuity.

Their genius guide through England showcases an assortment of remarkable inventions. It begins with a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach to experience Sir Hiram Maxim's 1904 Captive Flying Machines, the oldest amusement ride in Europe. These miniature rocket-shaped aeroplanes were designed by the eccentric inventor who created the first portable machine gun but whose ultimate goal was to achieve powered flight. A vertiginous spin on this historic ride gives Monkman the perfect opportunity to describe in detail the theory of centrifugal force.

Next, Southport, a quintessentially British seaside haven. It is also home to the only lawnmower museum of its kind in the world. Here, Monkman and Seagull celebrate an invention that has changed the landscape of Britain forever. As Seagull puts it, 'If an Englishman's home is his castle, then our grass is the field of our ambitions and hopes'. Monkman and Seagull are intrigued to discover the reason why the man who invented the lawnmower had to test his prototypes at night. They are also fascinated to discover that the museum is home to a lawnmower once owned by one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time.

Their next stop takes Monkman and Seagull off the beaten track to Emley Tower in Huddersfield, a colossal broadcasting mast that is one of the tallest freestanding structures in the UK, where they put their mathematical prowess to the test and measure its height using only a piece of string and a protractor. After a quick and very cosy pit-stop at the smallest museum in the world in West Yorkshire, they approach the culmination of this week's adventure - the giant telescopes of the mysterious Jodrell Bank Observatory near Macclesfield, where they contemplate life on other planets.

29 minutes

Last on

Sun 12 Jan 2020 03:30

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:03

    Ron Goodwin and His Concert Orchestra

    Cafe Royal Waltz

  • 00:07

    Les Baxter

    Sabre Dance

  • 00:09

    James Last Orchestra

    Peer Gynt: In Der Halle Des Bergkonigs

  • 00:12

    The Swingle Singers

    Allegro: Serenade No.13 In G K525 "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik"

  • 00:14

    Werner Tautz

    Sweetheart Serenade

  • 00:16

    Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    Crown Imperial

  • 00:22

    Acker Bilk

    Stranger On The Shore

  • 00:27

    Johann Strauss II

    An Artists' Life, Waltz, Op. 316

  • 00:28

    Nic Raine, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

    Close Encounters of The Third Kind


Role Contributor
Presenter Bobby Seagull
Presenter Eric Monkman
Executive Producer Simon Dickson
Executive Producer Lorraine Charker-Phillips
Series Producer Merle Currie
Director Samuel Palmer
Production Company Label1 Television Ltd


  • Mon 17 Sep 2018 20:00
  • Sat 22 Sep 2018 16:15
  • Sat 22 Sep 2018 16:30
  • Sat 22 Sep 2018 17:00
  • Thu 25 Oct 2018 01:15
  • Fri 9 Aug 2019 19:00
  • Tue 7 Jan 2020 19:30
  • Sun 12 Jan 2020 03:30

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