First Paxman, then the world!


A team of four students from Queen’s University will be putting themselves through a double intellectual challenge next week when they get “grilled” by Jeremy Paxman in the opening round of BBC TV’s “University Challenge” before flying out to India to be “tandoored” in the first ever “World University Challenge” in Delhi.

The team led by law student Alan McBride from Belfast, will be the first to take part in the long running quiz programme since 1998 when a Queen’s team were first round finalists. All four members of the team responded to notices in the Students’ Union building at Queen’s looking for volunteers and were eventually short-listed. After sitting a test devised by Granada Television, who make the series for the BBC, they were accepted for the opening round which will be broadcast later in the year.

“I was always interested in quizzes,” said team member Caroline Magennis from Portadown who is busy drumming up travelling support for the Manchester recording, “and here was a golden opportunity to show that my university was every bit as good as any other in the UK.”
The Indian 'University Challenge' is the brainchild of the British Council and will see universities from the four home nations compete against teams from India’s four provinces. Jacqui Allan, the Council’s Education Promotion Manager, India decided to find the University in each part of the UK with the best record on the programme so Queen’s will be flying the flag alongside the 2003 winners Birkbeck College and first round finalists Edinburgh and Aberystwyth. “I have been working on bringing the programme to India for over a year now and I am pleased to have the backing of not only BBC World, but also Synergy Communications, the company which also produces 'Mastermind India' and 'Who Wants To Be a Millionaire India'” said Jacqui, “and I believe the programme will be a wonderful platform for promoting the excellence of UK university education.”

Another team member Ciaran McGee from Derry is no stranger to the Paxman challenge. “Alan, the team captain, and I both tried to get onto the programme when we were students at Cambridge and Oxford and never made the final stages so, before our student days were over, we decided to give it another go.” “The India trip came completely out of the blue,” said the fourth member of the team Thom Kerr, an archaeology student, “and if we get wiped out in Manchester, at least we get a second bite in India.”

For further information, contact: Barry Cowan at the Communications Office, tel: 028 9033 5310


audience ticket QUB & Paxo



Meet the team here.

(your computer will probably play this as a QuickTime or Real Video file; it is a hideously large file and is probably not worth downloading!)






Our match results on the 2003/4 University Challenge series:

Monday 15 December 2003: Bradford 35, QUB 280 (Hurray!)
Monday 12 January 2004: St. Andrew's 200, QUB 105 (Boo!)


The following images are from our two recordings in Manchester. Apologies for the poor quality.




And in India: QUB 120, RVCE (Bangalore) 115
(shown on BBC World on 28th August 2003)

[University Challenge India]

University Challenge India University Challenge India