After winning their first quarter-final match but being narrowly beaten in another, the round-robin format sees the team go up against UCL in a must-win game at the later than usual time of 9pm, 24th April on BBC2.
The team is made up of Harry Scully, Chloe Margaux, Alex Radcliffe, Bea Bennett and reserve Tom Haines-Matos.
They originally came together after responding to Facebook posts and a series of tests to make it on to their respective college teams before taking part in an inter-college competition.
Final year sociology student, Chloe was selected as one of the highest individual scorers, despite being knocked out in the first round playing for her Josephine Butler College team.
Following their selection, they had an intense two-month period of preparation before their first round of filming, with the first task to choose their captain. As neither Bea nor Chloe wanted the role, a coin-flip resulted in Alex, who has since gone on to complete his Masters in maths, taking on the role and bringing with him the experience of being reserve the previous year.
The team spent time together watching previous episodes and studying books of past questions from the show, getting to know each others’ strengths, filling the gaps in their collective knowledge, and as final year English student from Hild Bede, Bea explains, ‘getting our heads into the style of questions they ask and being able to make split second decisions on whether to buzz early.’
Harry, also from Hild Bede studying physics and chemistry, made excellent use of flash cards especially as he was tasked with addressing the team’s weakness on anatomy and the human body, whilst Bea found a set of playing cards featuring all of the UK prime ministers.
They all describe the joy of being able to dredge up nuggets of niche information or things they’d studied at school but never imagined would be useful, and equally the frustration of wading through hundreds of psychological experiments and never being asked a single related question.
Whatever the outcome of this deciding quarter-final match, it’s clear that the five students, who hadn’t met before, have built a strong friendship and as Chloe explains about the time they spent across at the BBC in Manchester, ‘it was really like a friendship holiday with some quizzing on the side.’
A final mention should also go to the team mascot, Badger the cathedral cat. Let’s hope he brings them the result they deserve.
Watch Team Durham compete in the quarter-final of University Challenge on BBC iPlayer
Follow Badger the Cat on Instagram