Oxford’s Balliol College has stormed to victory on University Challenge, defeating a team from Wolfson College Cambridge led by popular captain Eric Monkman.
Professor Stephen Hawking presented the winning quartet of the BBC Two show with the 2017 trophy after their victory by 190 points to 140.
The win for captain Joey Goldman’s Balliol team ended a losing streak which had seen Oxford colleges lose to their Cambridge counterparts in the final for three years running.
Host Jeremy Paxman congratulated the winners and told Wolfson there was “no shame in being runners-up” and that they had been “one of the most entertaining teams in this year’s contest”.
For only the second time in the programme’s 55-year history, the trophy was presented outside the studio, this time at Cambridge University, where Prof Hawking is based.
There the new champions met the renowned physicist and cosmologist, 75.
He told them: “I have said in the past that it is not clear whether intelligence has any long-term survival value – bacteria multiply and flourish without it.
“But it is one of the most admirable qualities, especially when displayed by such young minds.
“Many congratulations to both teams but especially to Balliol College Oxford on becoming series champions on University Challenge, a programme I have long enjoyed.”
Canadian Monkman caused a sensation earlier in the competition when his quick-fire answers secured 120 out of his team’s winning 170-point score in one round.
His impressive performance prompted the hashtag #Monkmania to go viral across social media and some fans even took to Twitter to confess their love for him.