University of Bristol: Student who has watched every University Challenge episode multiple times captains Bristol side

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The University of Bristol team will go head-to-head with Durham University in the first round of this year’s new season of University Challenge, broadcasting on BBC 2 at 8.30pm.

Fulfilling a dream, Tess applied for the show after being urged by her flatmates who would watch old episodes of the popular programme on You Tube with her during lockdown.

She said: “I’ve always been a fan of the show and throughout lockdown found myself going through old episodes on You Tube with my flatmates, often watching multiple episodes a day. It was my flatmates that suggested I apply, so I did. I didn’t even expect to get though through to the second round of trials, so you can imagine my shock on receiving the email offering me captaincy of the team!

“There certainly were nerve-wracking moments in the process, but I think I was far too excited to really notice my nerves. I’d watched every series available on You Tube at least three times at this point, walking onto set was just so surreal, I couldn’t stop smiling.”

The team is one of 28 who will face Britain’s longest serving quizmaster Jeremy Paxman having fronted the show since 1994. He puts away his question cards for good, when he retires at the end of this series.

Bristol’s trivia tzars saw off stiff competition from the UK’s smartest students beating 97 other teams to secure a place on the 52nd series of the show, passing arduous interviews and tough test papers.

The brains of the Bristol quiz team this year are:

Tess Richardson, BSc Chemistry (Captain)
Jacob McLaughlin, BSc Economics and Mathematics
Alejandro Ortega, MSCi studying Physics and Philosophy
Sam Kehler, Medicine
Reserve Ted Warner, MSCi Biology
Tess added: “I had no previous quizzing experience apart from watching the show, so I strongly encourage anyone who enjoys the show to apply this year. The whole process is so fun and you never know how far you might get!

“Jeremy Paxman is a bit of an icon so the whole experience was made even more special knowing our series will be his last.”

University Challenge is the longest-running academic quiz show in the UK, having first aired in 1962. Journalist and broadcaster Amol Rajan is tasked with filling Paxman’s shoes and will become the show’s third presenter when the next series airs.

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