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University Challenge Reunited results


2002 marked the 40th anniversary of University Challenge, the longest running quiz show on British television. To celebrate the producers invited back as many series-winning teams, and in a few cases losing finalists, as could be tracked down. Each show began with the team reminiscing about their days on the show and the obligatory embarrassing shot of how they looked back then. The series ran from 25th March 2002, and instead of being a knockout, only the four highest-scoring teams progressed to the semi-finals.

First round
Merton, Oxford, 1981205240Imperial, London, 1995
Bradford, 1980180200Lancaster, 1980
Trinity, Cambridge, 1994225175New, Oxford, 1964
Somerville, Oxford, 2002345120Leicester, 1962
Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, 1972150240University, Oxford, 1973
Sussex, 1968170225Imperial, London, 2001
Jesus, Oxford, 1986260185University, Oxford, 1983
St Hilda's, Oxford, 1965125255Dundee, 1983
Keble, Oxford, 1976220285Open, 1985
St Andrew's, 1982160340Keele, 1968
Magdalen, Oxford, 1998110155Oriel, Oxford, 1966
Trinity, Oxford, 1972185275Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, 1979
Keble, Oxford, 1987210135Open, 1999
Manchester, 1962125195Magdalen, Oxford, 1997
Fitzwilliam, Cambridge, 1973180165Churchill, Cambridge, 1970
Semi-Finals
Open, 1985200255Keele, 1968
Somerville, Oxford, 200290390Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, 1979
Final
Keele, 1968185375Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, 1979

A truly stunning performance throughout by Sidney Sussex, consisting of John Gilmore (History), John Adams (Medicine), David Lidington (History) and Nicholas Graham (English) demonstrated that they fully deserve to be called the greatest champions team in the show's 40 year history. They were each given a replica trophy (a flat, framed version of the metallic book, just like the one that current winning teams are awarded when the original is handed on the following year) by Stephen Fry, himself a member of the Queens', Cambridge team that reached the finals in 1980, losing to Merton on a tie-break in the second match of the then set of three that would have given them the championship, and then losing the third.

Note that the system Granada use for denoting the year each team was champion differs to mine; for example, Trinity were champions of the series which ran from September 1994 until March 1995. I have named them the 1995 champions, whereas Granada named them "Trinity, 1994". However, even they contradict their own scheme by naming Somerville 2002 champions!

However, the series has unearthed a greater mystery, which together with information from other past winners, too numerous to mention, I believe I've just about unravelled. It began during the filming of the Reunited series when several of the contestants from the Bamber Gascoigne days commented that the year written on their desk was a year out. However, Granada had no replacement nameplate so it had to stay. So many commented that in later filmings they printed several so the teams could choose the correct year! A member of the winning team of series 18 even wrote to the Guardian to correct an article.

Thus, many of the early shows give the winning years of the teams as a year later than it actually was. Although the shows were generally filmed between Autumn and Spring, they were usually broadcast in a single year. For example, series 5, of which Keele "1969" were the champions, was filmed during the academic year 1967-8, with the final filmed and shown in July 1968. I shall thus call Keele (as the team themselves do) the 1968 champions. This continues until series 21 which was filmed and shown entirely in 1984 with Open University winning in December. There was then a gap, with Jesus College, Oxford winning series 22 in 1986. See the winners page for the correct years.

At the end of August, BBC2 screened a special documentary show, compiled by Granada, chronicling the 40 year history.

Teams in bold qualified for the semi-finals as the highest scoring four. Teams in italics were never series champions; Lancaster, University College, Oxford and Trinity College, Oxford were the series runners up, and St Hilda's, Oxford, lost in their semi-finals.