By Orlando Bell
Durham University’s Alumni team have won their first-round match in the BBC’s Christmas University Challenge. Up against Downing College, Cambridge, the Durham Alumni scored 90 points to Downing’s 65.
Durham’s team was made up of their captain Sarah Keith-Lucas, BBC Weather Presenter and 2003 graduate, architecture critic Hugh Pearman, stand-up comedian Ed Gamble, and YouTuber and physicist Dr. Becky Smethurst.
Downing started well, correctly answering the first ten-pointer and one correct bonus. From here, however, points were sparse, with both sides often failing to answer more than one bonus question.
Ed Gamble’s knowledge of the Wizard of Oz levelled the scores but Durham failed to take the lead as the team incorrectly answered ‘Wales’ when asked who won this year’s Rugby 6 Nations.
Durham took the lead for the first time at 50-45. Team captain Sarah Keith-Lucas’ knowledge of singer Buddy Holly gave Durham five points necessary to take the lead. This lead was maintained until the end.
Despite winning this head-to-head, Durham will not progress to the next stage. In this Christmas format only the four highest scoring out of the seven winning teams will progress to the semi-finals. Durham came eighty-five points short of the points total required to guarantee their progression. Indeed, at times, Paxman appeared both frustrated and amused by some of both sides’ wilder guesses.