University Challenge's Bobby Seagull says he turned down Celebrity Big Brother

The former quiz show contestant says he wants to be ‘the Jamie Oliver of maths'.

Author and former University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull has revealed he turned down an offer to appear on Celebrity Big Brother after his appearances on the BBC quiz show went viral online.

Seagull earned a cult following among some of the show’s viewers as team captain of Emmanuel College, Cambridge during their run to the show’s semi-finals last year.

Seagull told the Press Association he was also propositioned last year by the makers of Channel 4 reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother about becoming a housemate.

He said: “A year ago after University Challenge, I’m sure they give calls to lots and lots of people, Celebrity Big Brother did give me a call and asked if I would be interested.

“My repose was that I was very flattered they’d asked me but it wasn’t quite the right fit at the right time. Who knows in the future?

“For now I’m trying to build my portfolio in terms of maths and education and really trying to become almost like the Jamie Oliver of maths.

“Jamie Oliver helped to introduce healthy food in schools. I would love to be the equivalent for mathematics where I can help change how people nationally think about it.

“I never say never to reality shows, but I was very polite when I said it wasn’t quite the thing I wanted to do then.”

Bobby Seagull
Bobby faces off against the smart tech (Argos/PA)

After appearing in the Jeremy Paxman-fronted programme, Seagull has been studying a doctorate in mathematics education at Cambridge University and been teaching GCSE maths at a local school.

He is now set to appear in a new advert for retailer Argos, where he returns to the set of University Challenge and he pits his wits against a team of smart home system devices.

When asked if he thought that robots may one day appear on the long-running programme, Seagull said: “I guess in the future there will be artificial intelligence versions of people taking part in quiz shows.

“The pace of technology always astounds us. Who would have thought 20 or even 10 years ago that we would be glued to our phones?

“I read that adults on average touch their smart phones once every 12 minutes. Technology is integral to our lives. I think the people going forward that will thrive are the ones that adapt and learn to use it to get what we need.

“The home systems are a part of getting access to information quite quickly, it’s the future.

“I studied in history about the Luddites who though technology would replace humanity. I don’t think it will.

“Technology, if we use it correctly, can actually make our lives a lot better, as the home systems do.”

Seagull’s part-autobiographical book The Life Changing Magic Of Numbers will be released in October.

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