Manchester beat UCL to take University Challenge trophy for fourth time

 

The University Of Manchester have become champions of BBC contest University Challenge for a fourth time, to equal the record set by Magdalen College, Oxford.

Manchester have amassed their string of wins in the space of only eight years and have become only the second team to retain the title in consecutive years since the programme's launch in 1962.

Viewers saw the team of four - led by captain Richard Gilbert, a linguistics student - beat University College London by 190 points to 140.

Manchester had already faced UCL once during this 37-week series and in that quarter-final meeting they lost by 80 points.

But the team turned the tables in the final, which was the seventh time they had faced question-master Jeremy Paxman during the 2012-2013 season of the BBC2 show.

The captain, from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, was joined by economics student David Brice from Kingston-upon-Thames, Adam Barr from Muswell Hill in North London, who is studying physics with astrophysics and Debbie Brown from Buxton, Derbyshire, studying for a PhD in pain epidemiology.

Mr Gilbert said: "I think we did well because we had the perfect broad range of knowledge across the team, David is very strong on maths and science, I am a bit of a Jack of all trades, Debbie is great on biology and Adam is a scientist, so we had a good mix of skills.

"Manchester has such a proud recent history in the competition, but once we'd got there in many ways that pressure was lifted. UCL had already beaten us once in the series, so really we went into the final very relaxed and feeling as if we had nothing to lose."

Manchester had its first victory in 2006, and took the title in 2009 after it emerged that the winning team Corpus Christi, Oxford, had fielded an ineligible contestant. They won again last year.

The team was famously barred from the competition for a number of years following an appearance in the mid-1970s. The team - including journalist David Aaronovitch - gave the name of revolutionary figures in response to every question in a protest about elitism.

Manchester's team has been mentored by coach Stephen Pearson for the past 15 years, a university librarian who captained the team himself in the contest in 1996.

"As long as I keep finding it fun, I hope to carry on until retirement, which is not for another 20 years or so," he said.

Mr Brice, 24, said he believed he was destined to join the University Challenge team after encountering a former contestant, who reached the semi-finals in 2010 and is now a training partner for the team, when he first arrived in the city.

He said: "I remember getting off the train for the open day and meeting Rachael Neiman and thinking 'Wow'. I put down Manchester on my Ucas form, thinking 'it must be a very good university if they are so good at University Challenge'."

Mr Gilbert added: "The only time we were really nervous was in the first round when we almost got knocked out by Lincoln College, Oxford. We just froze for the first 20 minutes and the questions didn't land kindly for us at all, so we were really lucky to scrape through the opening match."

The only other team to land four wins, Magdalen, took the title in 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2011. Seven teams have won the title twice.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing