Monday, March 24, 2008

Sir Nicholas Montagu on University Challenge

Just came across this old story featuring the then Chairman of Inland Revenue - before the merger with Customs & Excise that created HMRC. My two year term as Chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty overlapped his tenure so I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions.

In 2002 the then chairman of the Inland Revenue was left red-faced on TV's University Challenge by a rather taxing question about VAT. Sir Nicholas Montagu failed to work out a simple sum which asked him to calculate 17.5% of a given figure.

He was appearing on University Challenge Reunited, which brings back champions from previous years, with team-mates from New College, Oxford.

The 1964 title holders were competing against 1994 winners Trinity College, Cambridge in the BBC2 quiz show.

When the tax question came up, Montagu struggled to work it out while Cambridge instantly buzzed in with the correct answer, much to the amusement of host Jeremy Paxman. 'I would have thought you would get that, being head of the Inland Revenue,' Paxman said, to which Montagu replied: 'Actually, that's a different department.'

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