You probably know them best from March’s electrifying University Challenge semi-final, which saw two of the series’  most memorable contestants, dapper Bobby Seagull and fan favourite Eric Monkman, go head-to-head in a Cambridge derby between Emmanuel and Wolfson colleges. The pair were such a hit the hashtag #Monkmania took off and now they have published their debut quiz book just in time for Christmas. Containing over 400 questions for all the family, The Monkman and Seagull Quiz Book already has celebrity fans such as Stephen Fry and Louis Theroux. But when it comes to ‘Quizmas', will the duo give their brains a festive break? They both share their thoughts with Female First.

Monkman and Seagull

Monkman and Seagull

The Seagull Approach

Turkey with stuffing, carols with singers, minces pies with mulled wine, questions with answers. Spot the odd one out… Well, I for one won’t be challenging the appearance of questions and answers.

Quizzing could be one of the magical ingredients that can form the perfect Christmas day! We can unwrap our presents, gorge ourselves on Christmas lunch and settle down to the Queen’s TV speech. But there’s nothing like a competitive group event to get the family together.

During a friend’s recent wedding, I was asked to host a 'night before the wedding' quiz. But this was no ordinary quiz. Having interviewed the bride and groom to be, I wrote a quiz around the couple. So a question included “Where did the couple go on their first holiday abroad? This country is also renowned for its football, fashion and Formula One.” Italy was the answer.

It gave the participants the chance to learn about the couple and test their quizzing knowledge at the same time. So this year, I would recommend that you run a 'Family Quiz of the Year'. This will include some homework for the quiz master, as they will have to get a list of interesting things about the attendees. But then you can form a quiz around that.

So question number one in the Seagull household this Christmas is: “Being Bobby’s favourite grime artist, which musician goes by the name of Michael Owuo and was the winner of the 2017 BBC Musician of the Year award?” Stormzy of course!

The Monkman Approach

For me, Christmas is a time for family togetherness and friendship. It is also a time for discussion and a time to catch up with people I may not have seen for some time. This Christmas, I will enjoy hearing what my friends and relatives have done in 2017 and I will tell them about my year as well (as you can imagine, I’ll have a lot of interesting stories to tell about what happened to me this year!)

That is to say, I would rather spend Christmas chatting than quizzing. I want to ask my family members about what is new in their lives, instead of asking them about the lives of long-dead politicians and scientists. And I would like to hear about some of the interesting places my friends have visited, rather than testing their knowledge of geography.

Finally, it must be admitted that not everyone loves quizzing as much as Bobby and me! I understand that not all of my family and friends will want to quiz over the holidays.

So if you are spending your Christmas with fellow trivia buffs, by all means, ask them about where you would find Cape Trafalgar or about the number of sides on an icosahedron. (And might we humbly recommend The Monkman and Seagull Quiz Book for their stocking!) But if your kith and kin are not as keen on quizzing, no need to test their knowledge on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. That can wait at least until 27th December.

The Monkman and Seagull Quiz Book is published by Eyewear Publishing, RRP. £12.99. https://store.eyewearpublishing.com/products/the-monkman-seagull-quiz-book

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