December 2014

Graduate line-up and fixture list revealed for BBC Two's Christmas University Challenge

Graduate line-up and fixture list revealed for BBC Two's Christmas University Challenge

The line-up of distinguished graduates and fixture list for this year’s Christmas University Challenge has been revealed.

In Christmas University Challenge, teams of prominent graduates from 14 universities and university colleges will compete for the glory of their institutions and the honour of being declared Series Champions. Each team will compete in one of seven first round matches. The four teams with the highest winning scores will play in two semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final.

Peter Gwyn, executive producer, ITV Studios, said: "Christmas University Challenge is always a fantastic illustration of the strong intellectual and emotional bonds that people have with the places where they studied. This adds an absorbing dimension to what is set to be a fiercely fought series!"

The series will air on BBC Two and BBC HD from 20 December and is filmed at dock10 studios in Salford

Line-up (team captain listed first)

King's, Cambridge: Noreena Hertz, author, economics writer, academic and speaker; David Walker, Bishop of Manchester; Martin Bell, author and lecturer and Thomas Adès, composer, conductor and pianist.

Trinity Hall, Cambridge: Adam Mars-Jones, novelist and literary critic; Tom James, Olympic gold medal-winning rower and management consultant; Dan Starkey, actor and Emma Pooley, Olympic silver medal-winning cyclist and professional triathlete.

Royal Holloway, London: Francis Wheen, journalist, writer and broadcaster; Valerie Vaz, Labour MP for Walsall South; Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes and Tori James, speaker and adventurer.

Manchester Metropolitan: Bernard Hill, actor; Eddie Morland, Chief Executive, Health and Safety Laboratory; Gordon Taylor, Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers' Association and John Thomson, comedian and actor.

York: Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum; Adam Hart-Davis, writer and broadcaster; Helen Geake, archaeologist and Finds Adviser to the Portable Antiquities Scheme at the British Museum and Philip Lawson, composer, arranger and singer.

Warwick: Simon Calder, travel writer and broadcaster; Jonathan Coe, novelist; Sir Bob Kerslake, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government and Simon Bailey, Keeper of the Archives, University of Oxford.

Leeds: James Mates, ITV News' Europe Editor and ITV Weekend news presenter; Jacqui Oatley, sports broadcaster and commentator; Sir David Baulcombe, Royal Society Research Professor and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge and Julian Dutton, comedy writer and actor.

Balliol, Oxford: Sir Alan Beith, Liberal Democrat MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed; Charlotte Higgins, culture writer and journalist; Ewan Birney, Director of the European Bioinformatics Institute and Roger Cohen, op-ed columnist.

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford: Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News anchor; Samuel West, actor and director; Michelle Paver, children's author and Philip Hensher, novelist, critic and journalist.

Hull: Dame Jenni Murray, journalist, writer, broadcaster and presenter of Women's Hour; Rosie Millard, journalist and Chair of Hull City of Culture 2017, Malcolm Sinclair, actor and President of Equity and Stan Cullimore, musician, actor, children's writer and columnist.

Goldsmiths, London: Corrie Corfield, Radio 4 announcer and newsreader; Neil Innes, singer-songwriter; Fiona Rae, artist and Shazia Mirza, comedian and columnist.

Surrey: Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics, author, broadcaster and presenter of Radio 4's The Life Scientific; Sue Blackmore, psychology writer, lecturer and broadcaster; Odaline de la Martinez, conductor, composer and record producer and Michael Price, composer, editor and arranger for film and TV.

Edinburgh: Philippa Gregory, author; Quentin Cooper, science writer and broadcaster; Allan Little, BBC special correspondent and Judith Miller, antiques expert, writer and broadcaster.

Newcastle: Kate Adie, author and broadcaster; Giles Fraser, journalist, commentator and Church of England priest; Alastair Reynolds, science fiction author and John Yorke, Managing Director of Company Pictures.

Fixture list

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford vs. Warwick
Hull vs. Newcastle
King's, Cambridge vs. Royal Holloway, London
Edinburgh vs. Leeds
Trinity Hall, Cambridge vs. Balliol, Oxford
York vs. Surrey
Manchester Metropolitan vs. Goldsmiths, London
Semi-Final 1
Semi-Final 2