Impulse answer cost Hawick student Ethan his chance of TV glory

Hawick's Ethan Simpson on University Challenge.
Hawick's Ethan Simpson on University Challenge.

Millions of television viewers watched as a Hawick student took part in a nail-biting episode of the BBC2 quiz show University Challenge this week.

Ethan Simpson was one of four contestants representing Glasgow University against an East London University team.

Hawick's Ethan Simpson, right, with his team-mates on University Challenge.

Hawick's Ethan Simpson, right, with his team-mates on University Challenge.

The contest came down to the final few questions, with Ethan and his team narrowly losing out 135 to 150.

It was a game try by the former Hawick High School pupil, now studying mechanical engineering and aeronautics, with his team’s average age of 21 being just over half that of their competitors’ 41.

Despite his university degree speciality, Ethan failed to answer an aircraft question correctly.

Host Jeremy Paxman asked which Swiss plane attempted to fly around the world using energy from the sun in 2015, to which Ethan answered Icarus, instead of the correct answer of Solar Impulse.

On his Facebook page before the show was aired, Ethan wrote: “If you’re looking for some light entertainment tune into University Challenge. Watch a man studying an aero degree get a question on planes wrong. It’s a guaranteed 30 minutes of drama.”

After the contest, Mr Paxman offered condolences to Ethan and his teammates, saying: “Bad luck. That was quite keenly fought, but you definitely won’t be coming back as highest-scoring losers.”

The show can be seen online via the BBC iPlayer.