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King’s College London Crash Out of University Challenge

Old University Challenge contestants

KCL’s team on BBC quiz show University Challenge depart in the first round after loss to Lincoln College, Oxford.

Broadcast on Monday evening, King’s College London’s four-person team lost 65-225 to the delegation from Lincoln College. Despite a strong start, where the team initially pulled ahead after some quick-thinking about Panamanian Balboa, King’s soon fell apart, struggling to buzz in on many of the starter questions.

King’s team consisted of captain Taiga Clarke, Zarah Sultan, Alessandro Bogo and Alex Halliwell. They will not be participating in any future episodes due to the structure of the show, which has with no group stage, meaning that KCL are immediately knocked out. Unfortunately their final score was the second-lowest of the series so far. The four participants can, however, console themselves with the knowledge that this was a particularly difficult episode and they faced a staunch opponent in Lincoln College. Contestant Bogo can be particularly proud of his performance representing the university.

This performance was better than last year, when King’s did not even qualify for the televised rounds of the tournament. This year, Imperial and University College London (UCL), two of King’s cross-city rivals, won their opening matches but the London School of Economics (LSE) did not qualify.

The early favourites for this year’s University Challenge championship seem to be Edinburgh, after they demolished Bangor University 320-150 last week. Last year’s victors, Balliol College, Oxford, were knocked out by Imperial College London in early September.

This season sees the show hosted by Amol Rajan, who also presents BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, after Jeremy Paxman stepped down after last year’s final. Paxman had been asking the questions on every iteration since 1994, and his dry questioning style defined the popular programme throughout the early 2000s. Rajan has, however, led the show impressively since his appointment this autumn.

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