University Challenge

Exeter's team with presenter Jeremy Paxman - image ITV Studios Ltd

University Challenge appearance for Exeter graduates

Exeter alumni took the place of students on one of TV’s toughest quiz shows in a special series which was broadcast over Christmas.

In Christmas University Challenge hosted by Jeremy Paxman, graduates and staff members from several of the UK’s top universities competed over three rounds in ten episodes for nothing more than the glory of their former institution, and the honour of being declared Series Champions.

Exeter’s team was led by author and television comedy writer John O’Farrell (English & Drama 1983), with Guardian feature writer John Crace (Politics 1979), Dr Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland (Geology 1981, PhD Geology 1986) and Professor Christine Allison from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University.  

They scored a respectable 125 points against Glasgow University's victorious 165 points.

John O’Farrell said: “Having watched countless under-graduates take part in University Challenge we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to take part ourselves. It was a great experience and one we’ll remember for many years to come. We were glad to be able to fly the flag for Exeter.”

The series also features teams from Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and New College Oxford. Other team members include actor and comedian Alistair McGowan, Coast presenter Neil Oliver, Paralypmian Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, MPs Anna Soubry and Diane Abbott, and BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

The programme was broadcast on BBC Two on Monday 31 December 2012 and can be viewed on BBC iPlayer until Monday 7 January 2013.  

Date: 20 December 2012