Christmas University Challenge returns this year for its twelfth series. While the nation's students take a winter break, distinguished alumni of fourteen UK universities and university colleges will put fingers on buzzers instead, hoping they’ve retained at least some of what their alma maters once taught them.
In this short seasonal tournament, these fourteen teams will meet in seven heats, with a place in the semi-finals reserved only for the four highest-scoring winners.
They’ll face typically tricky questions on everything from astrophysics to zoology, with an added sprinkling of festive fayre, all asked by Jeremy Paxman in his 29th year as presenter. No prize is on offer, merely honour, glory, and a lifetime of bragging rights.
To be eligible to take part, contestants must have graduated from the institutions they’re playing for, and gone on to achieve success in their field – whether that field be academia, business, sport, or entertainment.
This year’s line-up includes author Emma Dabiri (SOAS, London), broadcaster Paul Gambaccini (University College, Oxford), YouTuber Tom Scott (York), newsreader Reeta Chakrabarti (Exeter College, Oxford), playwright James Graham (Hull), paracyclist Neil Fachie (Aberdeen), and leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price (Cardiff).
Christmas University Challenge is a Lifted Entertainment (part of ITV Studios) (10 x 30min) for BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.