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University Challenge star from East Ham turned down Celebrity Big Brother offer

PUBLISHED: 13:35 14 August 2018

Bobby Seagull Picture: Lloyd Mann/University of Cambridge

Bobby Seagull Picture: Lloyd Mann/University of Cambridge

Lloyd Mann/University of Cambridge

Here’s a starter for 10: would you appear on Celebrity Big Brother after viral fame on telly?

Bobby Seagull with his University Challenge team. Picture: BBCBobby Seagull with his University Challenge team. Picture: BBC

University Challenge star Bobby Seagull has revealed makers of the Channel 4 reality show approached him about becoming a housemate.

But Bobby, who grew up in East Ham and became a surprise hit with viewers as team captain of Emmanuel College, Cambridge during their semi-final run on the show last year, turned down the offer.

“A year ago after University Challenge, I’m sure they give calls to lots and lots of people, Celebrity Big Brother did give me a call and asked if I would be interested,” he said.

“My response was that I was very flattered they’d asked me but it wasn’t quite the right fit at the right time. Who knows in the future?”

Bobby Seagull Picture: Lloyd Mann/University of CambridgeBobby Seagull Picture: Lloyd Mann/University of Cambridge

After appearing on the Jeremy Paxman-fronted quiz show, Bobby joined forces with former rival Eric Monkman (Wolfson College, Cambridge) to host a BBC Radio 4 show and publish a quiz book.

The former East London Science School teacher now works at a state school in Cambridge while studying a doctorate in mathematics education.

“For now I’m trying to build my portfolio in terms of maths and education and really trying to become almost like the Jamie Oliver of maths.

“Jamie Oliver helped to introduce healthy food in schools. I would love to be the equivalent for mathematics where I can help change how people nationally think about it.

“I never say never to reality shows, but I was very polite when I said it wasn’t quite the thing I wanted to do then.”

As well as his work in education, Bobby is returning to the limelight in a new advert for retailer Argos.

The spot sees him return to the University Challenge set to flog “smart home systems”.

Asked whether contestants would ever have to pit their wits against robots, he said: “I guess in the future there will be artificial intelligence versions of people taking part in quiz shows.

“The pace of technology always astounds us. Who would have thought 20 or even 10 years ago that we would be glued to our phones?”

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