The hunt is on to find the brightest of the bright to form a winning team in the upcoming season of University Challenge. The University is making a comprehensive search to find suitable candidates to take Leeds to victory.
Hosted by Jeremy Paxman, University Challenge is a television quiz show, where two teams of four from opposing Universities battle their wits against each other on a variety of topics.
The University of Leeds has participated in the Challenge several times before but has not been successful in qualifying for the televised rounds for many years. Communications and Internal Affairs Officer for the University, Rachel Wenstone hopes this year’s team will be different: ‘as one of the biggest and most successful Universities in the UK, its high time Leeds made it there’ Rachel commented. The University had the idea to enter a team as a “fun and positive event for students to get behind while the government issue of education cuts is on people’s minds.”
Since the show’s inception in 1962, the competition has been largely dominated by teams from Oxford, Cambridge and London. Controversially, each is allowed to enter up to five separate teams from each ‘college’, none of which can be officially classed as a University on their own. In the last 15 years the challenge has been won only four times by non-collegiate universities – two of those times by fellow Redbrick member Manchester University.
William Severs, a third year English undergraduate believes that “it’s about time the University of Leeds had their own team, competing with the likes of Manchester and Exeter”.
This apparent ‘Oxbridge’ bias prompted a protest in 1975, where the team from the University of Manchester answered all of their questions with only four, pre-chosen answers. Despite this however, there still continues to be no changes made to the show’s selection process.
As Rachel stated, it’s a “fantastic opportunity for all students to get involved in varsity activities, especially post-graduate students. As far as I’m aware, Leeds hasn’t had a team in the televised rounds for quite some time.”
She encourages anyone who feels they could add something to the team to attend the ‘team finder test’ which will be held in the Union next month. For more information regarding the time and locations contact the Student Exec or look out for more advertising around the campus.