Newcastle’s University Challenge Team to take part in this year’s serious
Reading University Students’ Union voted to boycott the programme
The Newcastle University team of five has been selected
Newcastle University’s University Challenge team will continue to compete in this year’s series, while Reading University Students’ Union has voted to boycott the programme.
Jack Taylor, President of Newcastle University’s Students’ Union, told The Courier that Newcastle would proceed competing even if nothing had been heard “from our students” about boycotting the BBC Two show.
The University’s team was officially named earlier this week as: Jonathan Noble, Jack Reynard, Adam Lowery and Molly Nielsen, with Tom Kungebeharry as reserve.
Taylor added: “We had around 75 applicants to start with, and across three trials we were able to narrow it down to five. I believe that the team selected is a good representation of our student population”.
The final five students selected by the University had to submit their applications by November 23. Applicants then go through an interview process and if successful, the team is scheduled to start filming next year.
Lowery said: “There are a few things we have to do before we get on, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get there.
“We have to get through the interview in January, with the actual people from the show. They have a short interview and then a quiz round.”
The University of Reading’s Students’ Union voted in favour of boycotting University Challenge last week after Jeremy Paxman allegedly made “misogynistic and sexist comments” during the show’s recording.
Samantha Buzzard, a PhD student at Reading University, complained after Paxman commented on the team’s mascot, a knitted Jeremy Paxman doll, saying ‘please tell me’ you take it to bed with you.
Paxman is ‘baffled’ by the University of Reading’s Students’ Union’s decision to boycott the show. Paxman told The Guardian: “One of them said it was a hand-knitted Jeremy Paxman doll.
“Across the several yards separating the chairman’s desk from the teams, I asked the whole team whether they took it to bed with them.
“Though no complaint was made at the time, this, apparently, is what has upset them”.
Reading’s student’s union voted 120 to 105 in favour of the motion.
Reading’s Education officer, Niall Hamilton wrote in a blog post: “The Students’ Union should not be in a position to promote and encourage students to participate in an institution with a serious lack of regard for the equality and accessibility of women on their show.”
Despite this, a university spokesperson said: “The university now plans to step in and recruit a team, given the students’ union has opted out.”
Buzzard reacted to the university’s statement in a Tweet saying: “If anyone knows who this Reading University spokesman is please send them my way. They definitely don’t speak for me.”
Newcastle’s University Challenge team refused to comment on Reading’s decision to boycott the show.
When asked what they were most looking forward to about going onto University Challenge, Jack Reynard said: “Getting roasted by Paxo.”
Molly Nielsen told The Courier that she had never watched much of the show before applying.
Talking about their subject areas, Reynard said Bio-Sciences and Classics would be his strong point for the show. Nielsen said: “I’m studying medicine but as a second career.
“I used to be a professional musician so, music, arts and literature. All the fluffy stuff.”
Adam Lowery said: “I’m quite a generalist so I can stretch to most things but I don’t do sport in any shape or form.