THERE was consternation in the house this week when University Challenge went missing - and not for the first time.

It is often the victim of schedulers assuming few people will notice if they just bounce it for a week, or all of a sudden swap its slot without any warning.

This week it once again just wasn’t there, replaced this time with Autumn Watch in New England. My far more cerebral other half was not amused.

Admittedly he was less irritated than when it just got moved a half hour later in the schedules - not least because it meant it was no longer on whilst one of our particularly chatty off spring was at a club.

It has long been a favourite show because it gives him the chance to prove how clever he is, answering pretty much 90 per cent of the questions correctly.

It is my part in the proceedings to congratulate him and to occasionally indulge in an elaborate fist pump celebration if I happen to get one right.

Once, I answered four questions correctly during an episode. That was a red letter day.

And you also get quite a few real characters that emerge from University Challenge. Two of them have even recently made their own documentary. Eric Monkman and Bobby Seagull were rival captains, notable for their mutually endearing quirkiness, but have stuck up a friendship since then.

Their show saw them travelling around the British Isles visiting interesting places whilst both learning and using their own impressive wealth of knowledge. What may have been quite dull was both endearing and interesting in the end.

Monkman constantly offering Seagull biscuits he repeatedly, but politely declined, was one of the beautifully observed moments.

So while we have nothing against the nature documentary Autumn Watch, we wish they would leave University Challenge alone.

They wouldn’t suddenly pull a week of Strictly It Takes Two would they ? Speaking of that, the awkward moment of the week surely goes to the pre-recorded and rehearsed interview between Zoe Ball and shamed couple Katya and Seann.

What is usually a very jolly affair was suddenly plunged into sobriety - Zoe looking like she was interviewing Death Row prisoners and Katya and Seann sitting so far apart they may have been in different time zones.

I was among a number of people surprised the public did not punish them further by dumping them in the bottom two but they won a reprieve - celebrating with a very matey high five and not holding or even touching each other as the other couples do whilst they wait to learn their fate.

Viewers just loves a bit of gossip.