#Monkmania – how University Challenge’s Monkman won the nation’s heart

No, he's not a crime-fighting monk

‘Monkman’ sounds like your average superhero with a habit, but it’s actually the surname of a proper clever person called Eric, who’s been wowing viewers of University Challenge over the past few months with his supreme intellect. The 29-year-old Canadian, who recently led his team to the series finale, is an Economics student of Wolfson College, Cambridge. While serving as that team’s captain, he’s dominated each episode he appeared in with his laser-eyed enthusiasm, and it’s led to fan-made tributes like this:

Not only has Monkman been discussed by the cast of Gogglebox – he’s also been on The One Show, alongside his UC rival and friend Bobby Seagull, in a contest that pitted them against the Oxford-educated rapper and actor Riz Ahmed. And somehow, they beat Riz in a quiz about his own life.

Monkman has also met Stephen Hawking, at the presentation of the University Challenge trophy – and he was pictured grinning from ear to ear, despite having lost the competition to Balliol College, Oxford.

If that doesn’t sound like enough of a phenomenon, see #MonkmanAtTheMovies, a typically ridiculous hashtag that mashes up Monkman moments with famous films – and in which even Monkman has taken part:

It all seems a bit much, but the important thing to know about Monkmania is that Monkman himself has really enjoyed it.