Older UEL students throw gauntlet down to youngsters in BBC2’s University Challenge

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 October 2016

Jeremy Paxman and the University Challenge team from UEL

Jeremy Paxman and the University Challenge team from UEL


Four mature students challenge the younger generation tonight when they become the first-ever University of East London team to appear on BBC TV’s long-running University Challenge.

The four go head-to-head against a team from Glasgow University in the last of the first-round matches of the 2016-17 series of Jeremy Paxman’s show on BBC2.

The UEL team have an average age of 41, all hoping that life experience might just tip the scales against their young opponents.

Team captain is Jerushah Jardine, studying for a PhD in Peatland Ecology, who hopes to follow in the footsteps of her husband Peter who was on Dundee University’s team that won University Challenge way back in 1983.

“We’ve found a few areas that we’re not too sure about,” she admits.

“None of us is competent at classical music, so we’ve divided the subject up into European, British and American composers and opera.”

The other team members are Research Masters’ student Kelly Travers, Civil Engineering student Christopher Ducklin and English Literature undergraduate Rachel Evans.

Rachel, a mother-of-three from Tilbury in Essex who began her UEL English degree last year, said: “We watch the show religiously as a family and it’s always about trying to beat our family score from the previous week.”

Her family will be glued to the screen at 8pm tonight.

Team-mate Kelly, from Westcliffe-on-sea, further along the Estuary, is only a part-time student in the evening who still qualifies to take part—the rest of the time she actually works as a business subject librarian at UEL itself.

Meanwhile, fourth member Chris from Tunbridge Wells in Kent is the first in his family to go to university, so just making it onto tonight’s show is an extra achievement for them.

He said: “We’ve already shown we can succeed by being one of the teams to qualify to get onto the show, so we must have something.”

UEL was one of 28 teams selected for this year’s series out of 130 universities that applied. The 28 included six Cambridge and five Oxford colleges, while UEL was the only post-1992 university to make it.

Latest East London News Stories

5 minutes ago

A naked investigator was offered a “happy ending” at a Aldgate spa as the theme tune from the movie Titanic played on repeat.

Yesterday, 19:00

A violinist hopes to raise £15,000 to transform an old double-decker bus into a mobile music school.

Yesterday, 19:00

Volunteers are out every evening in Shadwell guiding people through the blacked out St George’s Gardens in their campaign for public lighting to keep people safe in the dark.

Yesterday, 17:18

Our reporter Liam Coleman met with the big man before a hectic few weeks.

Yesterday, 15:41

Police investigating the death of a refugee who drowned in the Thames have released his picture in a bid to trace his next of kin.

Yesterday, 14:09

Crossrail, London’s new east to west railway service, may be delayed even further and could require a £2billion funding boost, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed.

Yesterday, 14:06

Student volunteers have picked up paintbrushes and revamped a Whitechapel community centre.

Yesterday, 10:50

Stepney-born Harry Redknapp has been crowned King of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!


Are you a landlord looking for a fixed rental income, paid whether the property is empty or not? Steve Westley, general manager at estate agents Elliot Leigh, explains their Guaranteed Rent Scheme and how it takes the stress out of letting your property.

Newsletter Sign Up

East London Advertiser twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now