Reading makes University Challenge semis for first time
23 March 2022
The University of Reading team has reached the semi-finals of BBC Two's iconic quiz show University Challenge for the first time ever.
The fab four, made up of team captain Michael Hutchinson, Kira Bishop, Sylvian Jesudoss and Margaret Ounsley, beat St John’s College, Cambridge, 145 points to 70.
Their historic success in the 2021/22 series continues after the team recorded Reading’s first ever quarter final victory on the show against the University of Birmingham in January.
Michael described University Challenge as ‘an absolute institution in the quiz scene’. He said: “After our loss against Imperial in the quarter-final, we found ourselves quite flat footed in that show. There'd been a big break because of Covid before that time, so we all felt a little bit off balance.
“So we actually spent like a solid day just doing buzzer practice before our next game [the third quarter-final].”
The team has a range of specialist knowledge, with Sylvian a PhD Marketing student, Margaret studying for a PhD in History, Michael having just finished his PGCE, and Kira studying Maths and Psychology.
They have impressed viewers during their journey to the semi-finals, with many commenting on social media on their teamwork and sporting nature, with Michael seen to congratulate their beaten opponents in their second quarter-final.
Reading beat the University of Strathclyde 175-110 in the first round, and the University of Dundee 245-50 in the second round. The only loss for the team so far was in their second quarter-final against Imperial College London.
The team has been supported by reserve team member Sarah Turvey, studying for an MA in Education, who has been helping with buzzer practice and preparation before the shows.
Kira was a reserve team member herself until she was drafted into the line-up for the second quarter-final when original contestant Alex Skopic, a Master’s student in English Literature, returned home to the US.
Reading will face the University of Edinburgh in the semi-final on Monday 28 March at 8.30pm. The final will be aired a week later.
The semi-final will be shown on screens in all the University’s bars on campus as the University community comes together to celebrate the team’s achievement.
You can also follow the team’s progress in the semi-final as we live tweet the action from @UniofReading