St Catherine’s College has passed a motion at its first open meeting, resolving to make Christopher Tarrant an honorary member of their JCR due to his commitment to railway-based television.
The motion, proposed by second year PPE student Thomas Mohan, states that Tarrant has shown sufficient “hard work, commitment and talent”. It passed with 38 votes for yes, eight votes for no and four abstentions. An amendment was also passed that the honorary membership was only to be granted if Tarrant replied to their correspondence, even if he rejected the offer.
In his proposition speech, Mohan said, “Chris has changed the game. His extreme railway journeys have revolutionized and internationalized the railway scene. He has travelled through five continents and seen things never seen before. He has taken trains across Cuba, which if anyone has tried to do you will know it is bloody difficult.”
Sarah White, JCR President of St Catz, told Cherwell, “St Catherine’s College does not give out honorary JCR memberships lightly. In fact, the proposed motion to award such a membership to Chris Tarrant was debated extensively at a very well attended open meeting.
“However, it became apparent that Tarrant has, indeed, already honoured Catz with his outstanding contribution to daytime television in the form of Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways – it is often found on the JCR television screen, and has become a fantastic bonding experience for the college. To use the words of the JCR member who proposed the motion, ‘With Extreme Railways, Chris Tarrant has opened our eyes and our minds. What a programme. What a man.’”
Tarrant is a radio and TV personality known for many things besides his Extreme Railways series, including hosting the game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? from 1998 to 2014, when the show came to an end. Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways is a series launched in 2012 on Channel 5. It involved Tarrant travelling around the world by train, particularly focusing on places like Cuba where train travel is especially difficult.
Honorary membership of a JCR gives the said individual the right to attend JCR meetings, but not to vote in the meetings or use college facilities otherwise. It can be granted to any individual on the condition that it passes a vote in a JCR meeting.
Other colleges have in the past also given out honorary memberships to celebrities. In June, Merton passed a motion to make Taylor Swift an honorary member of their common room. This too was passed with little opposition. However, it is not always a national celebrity that is awarded membership. Local celebrities, such as Ahmed of Ahmed’s and Hassan of Hassan’s, have also been made honorary members of Teddy Hall and Lincoln respectively. Thomas Mohan was reached for comment.