The World, the Flesh and the Devil



Colin Morris


BBC1, 24 June to 5 August 1984 (7 episodes)


Short-lived knockout quiz contested by teams of theology students.

The show had a University Challenge-style format with different theological colleges competing: Anglican, Roman Catholic and others. It included a subject board (always referred to by host Colin Morris as the 'marker-board') and the contestant who had answered a question correctly on the buzzer could choose a subject and either 'Faith' (religious questions) or 'Fortune' (non-religious) for his/her team, while the other team had to take the other set of questions. Throughout the rest of the show, there was a mix of religious and non-religious questions, mostly answered on the buzzer. The prize was cash for the college and a VCR for the Common Room - Morris had once again given the winning team the choice of 'Faith or Fortune' for said prize, and they chose 'Fortune'.

'The World, the Flesh and the Devil' was a decent enough idea and it was obviously appropriate to screen it on a Sunday, given its religious theme. However, showing it in the 'family' teatime slot was not such a good idea, since the show was clearly too highbrow to appeal to that kind of audience - and it would probably also have fared better if it had been screened on BBC2, being more of a minority interest show. These were very likely the reasons why only one series was made. Having said that, though, it could be argued that another exceptionally highbrow quiz, namely Ask the Family, had remained popular for 17 years in another 'family' slot, so surely 'The World, The Flesh and the Devil' could also have succeeded? Actually, maybe not, given that the next series of Ask the Family was to be the last of its original run.


"Faith or fortune?"

"...So now we come off the marker-board..."


Ridley Hall, Cambridge. The runners-up were Wycliffe Hall, Oxford - this latter college, incidentally, entered a team on the 2000-01 series of University Challenge: they acquitted themselves well.


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