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University Challenge stars Monkman and Seagull return for second series

Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman will return to BBC Two for a second series (BBC/PA)
Bobby Seagull and Eric Monkman will return to BBC Two for a second series (BBC/PA)

University Challenge stars Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull will don period costume as they revisit British history in a second series for BBC Two.

The pair, who rose to fame as rivals on the academic quiz show, will begin in 1750 at the start of the Industrial Revolution, investigating breakthroughs in science and technology until the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1900.

Titled Monkman & Seagull’s Genius Guide To The Age Of Invention, the three 60-minute episodes will identify the “firsts” that defined recent British history.

Monkman and Seagull’s Polymathic Adventure
Bobby Seagull (left) and Eric Monkman (BBC Radio 4/PA)

The pair, both Cambridge graduates, became huge hits with the viewing public during the 2017 edition of the BBC Two trivia series.

Monkman was known for his expressive manner and for lacking an “indoor voice” as he answered host Jeremy Paxman’s questions.

He said he was “delighted” to embark on another series with Seagull, after exploring modern Britain in last year’ Genius Guide To Britain.

He said: “The years from 1750 to 1900 were a time of immense scientific change. Many of the advances in this period began in Britain.

“I eagerly await the opportunity to explore these breakthroughs as well as the personalities that made them possible.”

Monkman and Seagull’s Genius Guide to Britain
Their first series saw them explore modern Britain (Ryan McNamara/BBC/Label1 Television/PA)

Seagull added: “I am so excited to reacquaint with my Canadian pal Eric Monkman to explore the wonderful ideas and inventions that spurred the advancement and development of Britain.

“Another joyous adventure of science, history and maybe some biscuits.”

Abigail Priddle, BBC commissioning editor said: “We are thrilled to welcome Eric and Bobby back to BBC Two, as they take us back in time to share their own unique perspectives on a period of amazing invention and ingenuity that laid the foundations for the world we live in today.”

Label1, the production company behind the Dara O’Briain-fronted Family Brain Games, has developed the new series, which will air on BBC Two.

Creative director Simon Dickson said: “Eric and Bobby’s first very successful road trip showed that the audience adores their mix of insight and bonhomie.

“This series will be even bigger and better than their debut. Expect surprising discoveries, nail-biting experiments with flammable materials, and a judicious amount of dressing-up in period costume.”

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