Jeremy Paxman has also faced famous faces on University Challenge before (Picture: BBC)
University Challenge is an icon in British television: first airing in 1962, the show ran for 913 episodes on ITV, presented by quizmaster Bamber Gascoigne.
The BBC later revived the programme on September 21, 1994 with Jeremy Paxman as the quizmaster.
Paxman, of course, still presides over the series which will air it’s 51st series from July 12.
As well as the regular editions which invites university students, there have been plenty of specials involving famous faces – from our current PM Boris Johnson to the ‘It’s Coming Home’ chanteuses themselves, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.
What University Challenge celebrity specials have there been?
Has there been a Celebrity University Challenge?
There have been several spin-offs of the traditional University Challenge which include high-profile names.
Christmas University Challenge is a spin-off of the classic quiz show, which invites notable alumni from select universities to compete.
The first Christmas University Challenge aired on BBC Two in 2011.
Taking part in the first special were notable alumni from Trinity College, Cambridge whose team included author Daisy Goodwin, writer and presenter John Lloyd, and broadcaster Edward Stourton against the University of Warwick’s team of Labour politician Christian Wolmar and actress Carla Mendonça.
There has been a series every year, with the last being in 2020.
Other high-profile celebrities who’ve taken part include documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux, comedian Dom Joly and writer Adrian Edmondson.
As well as Christmas University Challenge, there was a special Celebrity Match in 1992, which saw the likes of Stephen Fry and journalist Charles Moore take on a team of students who were the defending champions.
There have also been Comic Relief specials of University Challenge.
In 2003, a team called The Townies consisting of Jeremy Beadle, Gina Yashere, Danny Baker and Johnny Vaughan took on The Gownies – David Baddiel, Frank Skinner, Stephen Fry and Clive Anderson.
In 2005, a team titled ‘The South’ (Sarah Alexander, Hugh Grant, Stephen Fry, Omid Djalili) faced off against The North (Colin Murray, John Thomson, Armando Iannucci, Neil Morrissey).
Other one-off specials have included a News vs Politics episode, which included Diane Abbott, and a journalists episode in 1999, which saw Boris Johnson compete against the likes of Tony Parsons and Peter Hitchens.
University Challenge returns on July 12 at 8:30pm on BBC Two.
Credit: Original article published here.