University of Leicester eBulletin

Leicester Champions Rise to the Challenge Once More

March 2002

No 64  

Veterans Engage in Anniversary University Challenge

In 1962, the quiz show 'University Challenge' was born and with it the first series winners from the University of Leicester. Forty years on, the television show is still going strong - and so are its original champions.

The famed four, Geoffrey Ford, John Hewitt, Oliver Andrew and Madalaine Moore, have recently been reunited to take part in the programme's mini-competition to mark its 40th anniversary. They faced the champions from the current series, rather than another past team.

The team has reunited on a couple of occasions in the past including when they returned to the University of Leicester in 1997 to mark its 75th anniversary. Now they will be appearing on television during the University's 80th anniversary.

"We were hoping not to have to compete against one of the newer teams," said Geoffrey Ford, one of the Leicester veterans who read Geology at the University.

"The competition is not harder these days, but there is more emphasis on science, and the modern teams seem more knowledgeable in this area," he said.

"As we are older, our reaction times are slower and, of course, there is more chance of memory failure. I made an error which I could have kicked myself for, saying the piece of music played was Beethoven's 1812 Overture, when in fact I knew it was Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture!"

However, the team was prepared to give the current champions a run for their money. Although they did not do any serious swatting up, watching the latest 'University Challenge's gave a good indication of the questions they could expect.

Geoff Ford still prefers the old-style 'University Challenge': "The scoring of bonuses is now different. Before, up to thirty points were available, with six-part questions, which meant that the scores were more variable. For me, this was much more exciting."

The original University of Leicester team was picked from the best entrants in a Students' Union quiz. They have come a long way from such pub-quiz style competitions. Geoff Ford relates what he values most from the whole of his vast 'University Challenge' experience: "having the confidence to perform under pressure and in front of an audience."

Whether the University of Leicester will again chant 'We are the champions', or perhaps 'We were the champions', remains to be seen.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Geoffrey Ford on 0117 928 8004.

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Last updated: March 2002
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