Meet the dream team: Everything you need to know about our University Challenge Team

Four individuals bringing their unique skillsets to the table

Pip Brown, 21, Team Captain

Team Captain Pip is about to start her second year of Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience.

Having transferred to the University of Leicester for a change of scene and subject, she welcomed the opportunity to become a part of the University Challenge team.

Speaking to Pip, she described her time on the show as “Stressful, surreal but very rewarding; I will remember this experience for the rest of my life! The University of Leicester has been a new lease of life for me.”

Pip also discussed the empowering impact of seeing women and mature students represented on programmes such as University Challenge.

She said: “It was important for me to try and take part as an example of female and LGBT representation.

“If I could see myself on University Challenge, then other women can, and I’m sure that it’s the same with mature students as well. You have to see it to think ‘I can do it’”.

She also wanted to give a special shout out to Rob Greenhill- previous contestant on the show and their weekly training coach: “We wouldn’t have got there without him”.

This evening, Pip will tune in to the episode with her family and friends, who are throwing a watching party to celebrate her appearance on the show.

Stanley French, 20

Stanley has just finished his second year of Chemistry. His interest in University Challenge dates back over ten years ago, when his uncle not only appeared on the programme- but got to the final!

Describing his experience, he said "it was very exciting getting behind the audience and cameras, and getting to meet the other teams. We had a very nice chat with Jeremy Paxman- he was actually quite warm!”

When asked about his family’s reaction at history repeating itself, he said “I think they found it quite exciting, my sister came with me to watch it being filmed!”

Graham Aldred, 64

For mature student Graham, going onto University Challenge was an experience forty years in the making, when back in the days of Bamber Gascoigne his Mum said to him “You should bloody go on that!”

Graham’s academic study of Archeology began in 1999, with a Certificate Course at Vaughan College Leicester.

This led on to a part-time undergraduate degree, gaining a First Class BA (Hons). He followed with an MA in Archaeology and Landscape History.

Graham currently spends his time working on his PhD research in Toponymic Archaeology- a multidisciplinary study of Anglo-Saxon settlements, place-names and landscape.

Though this sounds like a great deal of work, particularly when considering that Graham also runs his own business with his wife, he finds studying to be a diverting and worthwhile interest:

“I love learning something new and how to view the world and other subjects in a different way. I like the people I meet and the environment at the University of Leicester.”

Jamie Byrne, 21

For Jamie, a fourth year Physics student, reaching the televised rounds was a particularly rewarding moment, as it wasn’t his first time applying to be on the show. He met teammate Graham during the 2016 auditions.

“I have to say that going for University Challenge was one of the things I always knew I wanted to do when I arrived here in Leicester!

“I've always loved watching the show and I was over the moon when I was selected for the team in my second year. Sadly we didn't manage to get through to the televised round then, but I was more determined than ever to try again and when we made it through it seriously felt like I had completed a life goal!”

Outside of quizzing, Jamie is the secretary of the Labour society at the University of Leicester and formerly the secretary of the Physics society.

Make sure to switch on BBC Two at 8pm this evening to watch the team take on Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge.