Yeah re: University Challenge I read an interview with that Rosie McKeown who pretty much single-handedly won it for whichever Oxbridge college it was last year… she was saying she’d been a fan of the show since she was a child and had actively spent her teens acquiring knowledge so she could get on the show. Bit of a superfan perhaps but she was fucking brilliant. Imagine there are many more who do the same.
University Challenge’s question base seems broad enough to me. And the earlier objection with the long-windedness of certain questions misses the point I think because it’s challenging your ability to retain information. A useful skill and contestants often fuck up on it (giving, say, a country when a capital city was asked for etc.)
One thing I’ve noticed that doesn’t happen as much any more - it always seemed to be the case that an American student would be on there in the earlier rounds and would panickedly buzz in with their first answer as, for instance, “What is Edgar Allan Poe” as if they were on Jeopardy. Was always very sweet, haven’t seen it happen for a while.