UCL have progressed to the second round of University Challenge after last night’s impressive first round victory
As hundreds of students flock to Drayton House this evening hoping to become part of next year’s University Challenge lineup, they will no doubt feel inspired by UCL’s stellar performance last night against rivals King’s College London in the first round of the 2018/19 competition.
Making back to back appearances on the series for the first time since 2012/13, UCL’s quartet for this year includes, at the time of broadcast, French and German undergraduate George Mitkov, MA Translation student Sofia Walker, Physics student Feiyu Fang and team captain Robert Johnstone, an MA Medical Imaging student.
After Paxman’s standard nod towards Jeremy Bentham’s remains and UCL’s alumni Holy Trinity of Gandhi, J.S. Mill and Coldplay, the contest got underway. It was a tense opening and by the halfway mark King’s held the lead, but after a storming run of five correct starter questions in a row for UCL they shot up to an unsurpassable 180 points. Walker delivered a man of the match performance, answering five starter questions on her own and displaying a vast range of knowledge from French cities to twentieth century poets’ memorial stones.
Despite King’s’ late resurgence UCL clinched the tie by 35 points and sailed into the second round. However, it may not be the last we see of King’s this year as they could return as one of the highest scoring losers.
UCL were runners-up in the competition in 2005 and 2013, losing to Corpus Christi, Oxford, and Manchester respectively, but are yet to win the competition.
The first of two trials for University Challenge 2019/20 takes place at Drayton House B03 Ricardo LT at 6:15pm this evening. The second first-stage trial will take place on Tuesday 16th October in Chadwick, B05.
You can watch yesterday’s episode now on BBC iPlayer.