University Challenge 2020 Christmas special line up and when it’s on TV

University Challenge Christmas Special contestants, date and time to watch

University Challenge Christmas special is back for 2020 on BBC Two – here’s when to watch and here’s on the line up.

For the Christmas period we’ll see famous and distinguished alumni in the firing-line for this year’s series of Christmas University Challenge.

Over ten nights, graduates play for the honour of their university. To qualify, they’ll need to have attended the institution they’re playing for and, having earned their degree, to have gone on to make an impact in their chosen field.

As warm and cuddly as an icicle, Jeremy Paxman will as ever be demanding answers to all his questions.

Watch Christmas University Challenge on TV and online

The ten episodes will air on BBC Two nightly between Monday, 21 December 2020 and Friday, 1 January 2021 except for Christmas Day – Friday, 25 December and Sunday, 27 December.

As well as watching on TV you can watch online and catch up via BBC iPlayer.

The series is comprised of seven first round matches. The four teams with the most points will then face off in two semi-finals before the top two go head to head in the grand final.

Christmas University Challenge line up

Meet the teams and their first round fixtures below…

Christ’s College Cambridge v St John’s College, Oxford
Christ’s, Cambridge: Lachlan Goudie, Captain, painter, writer and broadcaster; Sathnam Sanghera, award-winning author and journalist; Steve Palmer, Head of Data Solutions for the English Premier League & former Premier League footballer; Helen Mort, award-winning poet and novelist

St. John’s, Oxford: John Lanchester, Captain, journalist and novelist; Paul Franklin, Academy award-winning visual effects supervisor; Usha Goswami, Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education; Simon Jack, BBC News Business Editor

Manchester v Queen’s, Belfast
Manchester: Adrian Edmondson, Captain, actor and comedian; Justin Edwards, actor and writer; Juliet Jacques, journalist, critic and writer; David Nott, physician, founder of the David Nott Foundation

Queens, Belfast: Kate Devlin, Captain, computer scientist and author; Alan Jones, President of Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); Miriam Gamble, poet; Alan Finlayson, Professor of Political Social Theory, University of East Anglia

Courtauld Institute of Art v Goldsmiths
Courtauld Institute of Art, London: Tim Marlow, Captain, writer, broadcaster, art historian & former Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts; Lavinia Greenlaw, poet and novelist; Jeremy Deller, conceptual artist; Jacky Klein, art historian, author and broadcaster

Goldsmiths, London: Dave Myers, Captain, Hairy Biker and pie maker; David Dibosa, art historian and broadcaster; Helen Cross, novelist; Rachel Cowgill, Professor of Music, University of York

Nottingham v Sheffield
Nottingham: Levison Wood, Captain, explorer, writer and broadcaster; Colin Matthews, composer; Melanie Hopkins, British High Commissioner to Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Micronesia 2014-2020; Helen Roy, Professor of Biological Sciences & President of Royal Entomological Society

Sheffield: Val Gibson, Captain, Head of High Energy Physics Group, Cambridge University; Kylie Pentelow, journalist and news anchor; Professor Claire McGourlay, Professor of Legal Education, University of Manchester; Michael Deacon, journalist and political satirist, Daily Telegraph

University of Central Lancashire v Loughborough
University of Central Lancashire: Richard Frediani, Captain, Editor, BBC Breakfast; Richard Askam, sports broadcaster; Kate Pankhurst, writer and illustrator; Mark Tattersall, journalist and executive producer

Loughborough: Kate Fox, Captain, poet, stand-up comedian and broadcaster; Monty Panesar, former England cricketer; Caitlin McClatchey, former Commonwealth champion and world medal-winning swimmer; Naomi Dattani, cricketer, Captain of Middlesex Women

Durham v Downing College, Cambridge
Durham: Sarah Keith-Lucas, Captain, Meteorologist and weather presenter; Ed Gamble, comedian: Hugh Pearman, architecture critic and author; Rebecca Smethurst, astrophysicist and science communicator

Downing, Cambridge: Amol Rajan, Captain, journalist and broadcaster, BBC Media Editor; Professor Sir John Pendry, theoretical physicist; Dharshini David, author, economist and broadcaster; Louise Dean, Man Booker prize nominated novelist

New College, Oxford v Reading
New College, Oxford: Lucy Cooke, Captain, zoologist, author and broadcaster; Christopher Hampton, playwright, screenwriter, translator and director; Michael Crick, journalist and broadcaster, Channel 4 News political correspondent; Charlotte Mendelson, author

Reading: Stephen Smith, Captain, Newsnight culture correspondent; Paul Barnes, multi-award-winning-graphic designer; Rhianna Dhillon, BBC6 Music film and TV critic; Amoret Whitaker, Professor of Forensic Entomology, University of Winchester

Picture: BBC