Lancs progress in University Challenge

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A collaborative effort from a team of Lancaster’s undergraduate and postgraduate students has secured a momentous victory, which was broadcast on national television, for the University.

On Monday evening, four students managed to outsmart the opposition in a play-off final of the current series of the long-running Higher Education quiz-show, University Challenge. Host Jeremy Paxman oversaw proceedings with his usual dry humour and sardonicism.

The quartet, which consisted of Iain Dickson (MSc Ecology and the Environment), Alan Webster (MSc Resource and Environmental Management), Ann Kretzschmar (PhD Environmental Science) and Team Captain George Pinkerton (History, Philosophy, and Politics), went head-to-head against Lincoln College, Oxford, in a bid to be declared this series’ ‘highest-scoring loser’. The play-off resulted from the team’s previous sterling effort against Pembroke College, Cambridge, which gained the Lancaster competitors 140 points and a ranking among the top four highest scoring losing teams.

Monday saw them surpass their previous achievements by beating their rivals with 165 points to Oxford’s 120.

Even excepting these fantastic achievements, the team still did exceptionally well simply by progressing to the televised heats of the tournament. Their collective general-knowledge prowess made them the first team to reach the televised rounds in seven years.

Lancaster’s Union Vice President for Academic Affairs, Richard Clark, said of the success, “I think it is a brilliant way to show some of the quality that Lancaster university are producing! The team had a great time filming it all and were unlucky in the first round. Luckily they got another shot due to their strong performance on the losing side in week 1, and they took that second chance on Monday when they came out victorious!”

Recruitment for this year’s team is due to commence shortly, so keep an eye out for news in the near future if you fancy pitting your wits against not only other academic institutions but also the sharp tongue of Mr. Paxman himself!

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