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University Challenge Katherine Perry Pembroke sparks sexism debate on Jeremy Paxman quiz | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

University Challenge Katherine Perry Pembroke sparks sexism debate on Jeremy Paxman quiz | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV


University Challenge saw Oxford battle Cambridge in a big clash of the titans. 

Earlier this week, viewers of Jeremy Paxman’s BBC quiz show found themselves distracted by one contestant in particular.

Katherine Perry of Pembroke college, Oxford, was last night’s captain who is currently studying for a PhD in Theology. 

But it was her outfit that caused a stir among viewers, eventually launching a sexism row.

A handful of viewers said they were distracted by her low-cut dress and flocked to Twitter to share their thoughts on her outfit. 

One said: “Good grief Perry, we came here to quiz not to stare at your… admittedly [dry-swallows]… perfect… that is to say, your… well those, anyway… I think I’ve made my point.”

Another added: “Miss Perry has certainly divided us all this evening, but let’s face it, she’s obviously a proud girl – and she does wear them well.”

A third commented: “Flippin ‘eck, Perry! Ten points to Gryffindor!”

But most viewers if the BBC show swooped in to her defence and called out those making comments on her appearance. 

One raged: “#UniversityChallenge Is trending and most of the tweets relate to Perry’s breasts. People are constantly asking why more women don’t go on the show… this is why.”

A second added: “It is saddening to see Pembroke-Perry, who exercised her role as team captain with admirable grace and serenity, become the victim of so much sexist abuse on this site. Shame on people who make lewd comments about her and about female #UniversityChallenge constestants in general.”

Another viewer agreed, saying: “A good 50% of the #UniversityChallenge Twitter stream is about a contestant’s cleavage… and they wonder why more women don’t take part.”

Sadly, Pembroke lost on Monday night by 230 points to 75 and were eliminated.

Birmingham-born Perry has already gained a degree in Theology from Oxford and has since completed a masters at Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge. 

She returned to Oxford for her PhD and has been lecturing on demonology, New Testament Greek and cognitive linguistics.

Katherine isn’t the only female contestant to face “sexist” backlash on Twitter. 

University Challenge contestant Emma Johnson, 22, sparked an online frenzy during her appearance on the show. 

Many called her a “sex symbol” but the Oxford University trainee doctor hit back at the comments last year. 

She told the Daily Mail: “It’s been completely surreal. I had no idea I was being talked about on Twitter.

“At first I thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it.”

She later described the attention she received as “the 2017 version of catcalling” following random friend requests on Facebook. 

University Challenge airs Mondays on BBC Two at 8pm. 



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