Bristol University Challenge team through to quarter finals


Bristol's University Challenge team have reached the quarter finals of the quiz show after their triumph over Trinity College, Oxford last night (18 December).

The team won 205-100, enough to progress into the quarter-final and to equal their best ever performance on the show.

It follows a comfortable 230-95 victory over Trinity College, Cambridge, in the second episode of the current series that aired on BBC2 in July.

Last year, Bristol's team lost out on a semi-final position after losing quarter-final matches to Corpus Christi College, Oxford and the University of Warwick. The title was eventually awarded to Balloil College, Oxford.

University Challenge is the longest- running academic quiz show in the UK. It was first aired in 1962 and is currently on its 47th series. It is now hosted by Jeremy Paxman.

In order to be selected for the team, applicants face a rigorous selection process organised by Bristol SU. Last year, Epigram discovered that the selection process begins with a short online quiz followed by a series of rounds designed to mimic the quiz show.

Selectors experiment with different combinations of individuals to create a team with the right mix of knowledge. The final team then has to undergo weekly practice sessions in preparation for the competition.

Before gaining a place on the televised show, Bristol's final team auditioned for one of the 28 places against 130 quiz teams.

This year's team, chosen from more than two hundred Bristol students who applied, are:

  • Sam Hosegood (Team Captain), first year undergraduate, Chemical Physics
  • Oliver Bowes, First year undergraduate, Music
  • Kirsti Biggs, Second year doctoral candidate, Mathematics
  • Dom Hewett, First year postgraduate, English
  • Owen Iredale, Second year undergraduate, Biology (reserve)

Team Captain Sam Hosegood said: 'It's difficult to explain how nerve-racking it is when you're sitting on set with all the lights and cameras on you waiting for the first question to be read. However, despite how stressful the filming can be at times, the whole experience was really good fun.

'Personally, I think that one of the greatest strengths of our team was that we got on so well meaning that meeting up to practice was never a chore. We all looked forward to our weekly practice sessions and now that the filming is over we still regularly go to the pub together (and of course the occasional pub quiz!).'

Following Bristol's victory, Paxman's final comments caused some controversy on Twitter. In response to the final score, Paxman said: 'Trinity I think you're better than that score suggests' and Bristol was 'lucky to have a musician' on their team following a stream of music questions.

Bristol's quarter-final round will broadcast in the new year.

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Alex Boulton

Editor in Chief 2017-18, Online Style Editor 2016-17. History student.