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University Challenge in numbers

As the 2018 final approaches, Radio Times reveals the stats that matter in TV’s toughest quiz

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Published: Monday, 23rd April 2018 at 4:33 pm

From the highest score to the longest surname, the number of pizzas the students consume to how often Radio Times has been mentioned on the show – here are the stats that matter from the last two-and-a-half decades of the BBC quiz...


415 The highest score in a student match since 1994 (when Jeremy Paxman began as host) (1997 – Open University v Charing Cross Hospital, who got 65)

120 The lowest winning score since 1994 (2013 – Bristol)

250 The highest losing score since 1994 (2012 – Clare, Cambridge)

128 The number of teams interviewed for 28 places in the current series

18 The number of letters in the longest surname called out by announcer Roger Tilling: (Juan) Rubio Gorrochategui (2017 – Imperial College, London) (Adam) Papaphilippopoulos (2012 – University College, London)

1,890 The highest series points total since 1994 (2010 – Emmanuel, Cambridge, in seven matches)

100 The number of takeaway pizzas consumed by student contestants in an average series

3:1 The ratio of classical to popular music in the music rounds in the 2017–2018 series (24 compared to 8, not including jazz or musical theatre)

77 The average number of questions asked in each show

18 and 17 The institutions with most appearances on the student series since 1994 (18, Durham, and 17, Edinburgh and Warwick)

940 The number of episodes presented by Jeremy Paxman so far

4 The number of times both Manchester and Magdalen, Oxford have been series champions

73 References to quantum physics in the UC starter question database

11,805 Points scored in the 2016–17 series of University Challenge 150 The number of institutions on the student series since 1994

The lowest ever score 0 in Christmas University Challenge (2018 – Reading)


3 The number of times Radio Times has been mentioned in the “Starter for Ten”

The final of University Challenge is on BBC2 on Monday 23rd April at 8:30pm and will be available on iPlayer shortly after broadcast


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