Fingers on buzzers: University of Winchester celebrity graduates take on Christmas University Challenge

14 Dec 2021
The Winchester team on set behind the desk

It's a question of fingers on buzzers as a team of famous University of Winchester alumni take part in Christmas University Challenge 2021.

Each year nearly 3 million viewers watch the special series of Christmas University Challenge on BBC2, where teams of graduates from UK universities face the formidable quizmaster and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman.

The Winchester line up is: Dirk Maggs (BEd 1974-78 and Honorary Fellow 2005), writer and director for audio drama, the stage, games, film and television; BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell (BA Drama, Theatre and Television 1984-87); Nicole Farley (BA Sports Development 2007-2010), the first full-time female coach appointed at Premier League football club West Ham, and stand-up comedian Shaparak (Shappi) Khorsandi (BA Drama, Theatre and Television 1992-95 and Honorary Doctors of Letters 2010), who is the team captain.

The team take a selfie on set

"It was a great honour for us to be asked to represent the University of Winchester in Christmas University Challenge and truly nerve-wracking to sit across the studio from Jeremy Paxman, whose acid humour actually conceals a very warm personality," said Dirk Maggs.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the experience once it was under way and the floor manager told us afterwards that our team was the most fun they'd had in the competition. The opposing teams were jealous of our University scarves too!"

The Winchester team together behind the scenes of the programme

The programme airs at 8.30pm on Tuesday 21 December on BBC2 when the Winchester team battles the University of Bradford for a place in the semi-finals.

The University of Bradford team is: Anthony Finkelstein (President of City University, London); MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy; Martin Roberts (presenter of BBC's Homes Under the Hammer), and David Cowling (former editor of the BBC's Political Research Unit).

Photos: Landing page thumbnail and banner photo above: BBC. Group photos: courtesy Dirk Maggs.

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