Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How the Brainy City Took Up the Challen ; in Our Second Feature on the 50th Anniversary of University Challenge, Paul Taylor Looks at the Part Played by 50th Anniversary of University Challenge, Paul Taylor Manchester University

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

How the Brainy City Took Up the Challen ; in Our Second Feature on the 50th Anniversary of University Challenge, Paul Taylor Looks at the Part Played by 50th Anniversary of University Challenge, Paul Taylor Manchester University

Article excerpt

FOR the nimble minds at Manchester University, the quiz show University Challenge is a home-town fixture. The quiz has been made in the city since it began in September 1962, and few seats of learning take this contest so seriously. Manchester has its own Alex Ferguson of the quiz world in the shape of coach Stephen Pearson who, since captaining the Manchester team in 1996/7, has picked and drilled every Manchester team, with victory three times in the last seven series.

Every year, he reduces up to 150 applicants down to a team of four. "The one hard and fast rule which I've not broken yet and don't think I would break is that I'd always pick one science student," says Pearson, aged 46, a librarian at the university, who set the quiz on these pages.

Pearson and the winning Manchester team were presented with the university's Medal of Honour after their victory in the 2011/12 series.

But Manchester has not always covered itself in glory. In 1975, a Manchester team decided to protest at the dominance of Oxford and Cambridge colleges by giving absurd answers to every question. …

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