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"Bambi" was the seventh episode of British sitcom The Young Ones. It was written by Ben Elton, Rik Mayall and Lise Mayer, and directed by Geoff Posner. It was first aired on BBC2 on 8 May 1984. It is one of the most remembered episodes for its famous University Challenge scene.


As with all episodes of The Young Ones, the main four characters were student flatmates Mike (Christopher Ryan); Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson); Rick (Rik Mayall); and Neil (Nigel Planer). Griff Rhys Jones plays the title character, a parody of real-life University Challenge presenter Bamber Gascoigne. The opposing University Challenge team, from Footlights College, Oxbridge, comprises Lord Monty (Hugh Laurie); Lord Snot (Stephen Fry); Miss Money-Sterling (Emma Thompson); and Kendal Mintcake (Ben Elton). Alexei Sayle appears briefly as a train driver to deliver his trademark monologue.


Mike's concern over the quartet's hygiene habits prompts a first visit to the launderette in almost three years, a decision made all the more urgent, and obvious, by the escape - and subsequent murder - of one of Vyvyan's deadliest socks. The washing session goes well until one of the washing machines spits out the quartet's clothing, prompting Vyvyan to use a "special blend of psychology and extreme violence", involving the mention of Felicity Kendal's underwear, to get the machine to accept their clothes. After forcing their clothes into one of the machines, they eventually realise that none of them has the 50 pence pieces required by the machines.

Suddenly Neil remembers the housemates are due to appear on University Challenge that very evening to represent Scumbag College. The group's hectic rush to catch the train leads to an unsuccessful train ride, complete with last-ditch swotting from Neil and hissy fits from Rick.

Vyvyan's self-decapitation, having stuck his head out of the window (contrary to written warnings), results in a muddy hitch-hike. This finally gets to them to the studios, where Vyv tries to smuggle a pig (which he describes as a ferret named "Bacon Sandwich") in as the College's mascot. (During the actual University Challenge segment a pile of bacon sandwiches can be seen next to Vyv - suggesting that the pig has come to an untimely end.) During the pig/ferret discussion, behind Mel Smith is a red sign reading "Grenada." This is a parody of Granada Television. The group have a conversation with Bambi before the show, Mike comments on how Bambi has lost a lot of hair and now stands on his hind legs (a joke about the deer in the film). Also, sequels to the film Bambi are mentioned, like Bambi II: Bambi Goes Crazy Ape Bonkers With His Drill and Sex and others, one of which Bambi is not proud.

During the game, their opponents – the well-to-do Footlights college team, from Oxbridge – take a commanding lead, as Neil becomes preoccupied with asking Bambi to go to the toilet. An angry Vyvyan obtains a World War II-era German stick grenade and blows up the rival students. Mike's quick answers begin Scumbag College's comeback, before a trick question from Bambi reveals Rick's shenanigans of swapping the question cards. Two of the questions fixed by Rick had the same answer, 'Toxteth O'Grady, U.S.A'. (In a later real episode of University Challenge, when asked a question he didn't know the answer to, a student gave this as his reply). The affronted audience heckle the group, and begin to hurl items at them.They are suddenly squashed by a gigantic eclair dropped by a medical Doctor, having been shown observing everything as a culture under a microscope. The Doctor then feeds the éclair to Jumbo, his elephant subject, supposedly a horribly disfigured man, a reference to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man.

The episode features a performance of "Ace of Spades" by a particularly rare Motörhead line-up of Lemmy, Phil Campbell, Würzel and Taylor.

The fictional Footlights College, Oxbridge, is a reference to the real Footlights drama club at Cambridge Universitymarker. The Footlights College team was played by show writer Ben Elton, and three actors who were once members of the real Cambridge Footlights: Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, and Stephen Fry. Oxbridge is also a portmanteau of the names of the real life Universities of Oxfordmarker and Cambridgemarker. Interestingly, Stephen Fry, playing one of the fictional "Footlights College" contestants, had actually represented his college (Queens' Cambridge) in a genuine edition of University Challenge only a few years before the episode was made. He also later appeared on celebrity editions of the programme in aid of Comic Relief in the 2000s.


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