Cambridge Coxes targeted for ‘Geeky’ game show

Morwenna Jones and Beth Price 15 April 2014

A new reality game show is looking to recruit Cambridge students for its first series. 

Objective Productions, which produced TV hits The Cube, Peep Show and Fresh Meat, is looking for Britain's "biggest, brightest and best geeks" to compete, on television, for a "life-changing prize".

In an email to various college boat clubs, Objective Productions revealed that a particular interest in coxes as contestants as "they've usually got attitude and brains and have the big rower guys and girls wrapped around their little finger".

Shannon Delwiche, Executive Producer of the series, spoke to The Cambridge Student about the choice of contestant.

When asked whether the show would perpetuate an image of Cambridge students as geeky nerds with poor social skills, she replied, "We're not trying to perpetuate any negative imagery at all.  We're celebrating really interesting, smart people, who have various skills.  We're definitely celebrating people who have an impressive C.V. of accomplishments and if they don't have, they don't fulfil the show's criteria."

The rowing focus, Shannon told TCS, was part of an attempt to reflect "specific British interests", with interest in rowing booming since the 2012 Olympics. The show on the whole, she said, should be a move away from the current raft of reality shows, with “the crème de la crème of academia” taking part.

"Previously, you could get on television for doing anything,” said Shannon, “we're targeting the best schools for contestants who are not afraid to identify as 'geeks', who are well-rounded enough to complete a whole variety of tasks." 

However, although the series is intended to celebrate that "the twenty-first century is the era of the geek", Cambridge students have mixed opinions about the company's choice of contestants.

Peter Draper, a third year engineer, said, "Being a geek is sexy, it's good that someone's finally appreciating that."

But Reana Maier, who rows for Murray Edwards W1, took offence at their choice of coxes over rowers, saying, "I haven't yet met a cox that I've thought, 'Bloody hell, you're clever, but I'm not sure I'd trust you to use the street unattended'. I have, however, met at least a dozen rowers like that. Rowers are just as 'geeky' as coxes."

Will, a Selwyn student and Blondie cox, added, "I’m not sure you could mark all coxes as altogether well rounded…but the best of them know how to focus and think fast better than anyone", suggesting that Cambridge coxes could be the perfect game show contestants.

Series Executive Producer Shannon told TCS that the series is also sourcing contestants from Oxford, Bristol and Manchester, although she was unable to give out further details about the show. Would-be contestants are asked to email as soon as possible.