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Friday 11 December 2020

UCLan alumni star in BBC's Christmas University Challenge

Notable UCLan graduates compete alongside prominent alumni from 14 universities and university colleges.

It was 'fingers on buzzers’ for a team of distinguished University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) alumni who took part in the BBC's upcoming annual Christmas University Challenge.

Recorded a few weeks ago but airing on BBC2 from Monday, December 21 at 8.30pm, the overall competition features 56 prominent alumni from 14 universities.

The UCLan team was captained by the BBC's Breakfast editor Richard Frediani, and he was joined by sports broadcaster Richard Askam, journalist Mark Tattersall as well as children's writer and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, all UCLan graduates.

Each team competes in one of seven first round matches, after which the four teams with the highest winning scores face each other in two semi-finals. The winners of each of those ties face each other for the series crown.

"From architects to authors, comedians to sports stars, we are once again looking forward to welcoming our distinguished alumni as they battle it out for the coveted title of being the Christmas University Challenge champions."

Peter Gwyn, executive producer at ITV Studios

The UCLan team’s first round opponents were Loughborough University, captained by poet and stand-up comedian Kate Fox.

Peter Gwyn, executive producer at ITV Studios, said: "From architects to authors, comedians to sports stars, we are once again looking forward to welcoming our distinguished alumni as they battle it out for the coveted title of being the Christmas University Challenge champions."

Meet the UCLan team

Richard Frediani is the UCLan team captain. The University Honorary Fellow studied journalism at UCLan before joining the county’s Red Rose Radio as a reporter. He then switched to television where he edited news programmes for ITN and ITV before taking the helm at BBC Breakfast.

Mark Tattersall is a journalist and former news reporter for ITV's Granada Reports. Mark grew up in Preston and attended Hutton Grammar School before studying at UCLan. He is now executive producer at Artlab Films, based in London and Preston.

Richard Askam studied broadcast journalism at UCLan. He is a multi-award winning BBC sports presenter covering some of the world's biggest sporting events, including the Olympic Games and Champions League finals.

Kate Pankhurst who graduated at UCLan with a degree in illustration is the author of the Fantastically Great Women series of children's picture books. She won second place in the 2002 Macmillan Prize for Picture Book Illustration.

The Christmas Special of University Challenge featuring the UCLan team will be broadcast on BBC2, Boxing Day at 8:35pm.