Arlesey student competes in BBC Two’s University Challenge

A talented Arlesey student starred in BBC Two’s University Challenge, as she proudly represented the University of Leicester.
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Tilly Clark, 22, who studied biochemistry, won a hotly contested place on her university’s team and went on to face Durham in front of a live studio audience.

Tilly and team kept their challengers on their toes, but in the end it was Durham who took the lead, finishing with 180 points against Leicester’s 125.

Tilly said: “It was quite fun; I’d never done anything like that.

Rob, Tilly, Jeremy, Tom, Shaun.  Visit iPlayer to watch the episode (July 20)Rob, Tilly, Jeremy, Tom, Shaun.  Visit iPlayer to watch the episode (July 20)
Rob, Tilly, Jeremy, Tom, Shaun. Visit iPlayer to watch the episode (July 20)

“We sat with the other team for a bit beforehand, and they were really nice, so I didn’t mind too much losing to them.

“You kind of forget that you’re being filmed and it’s like you are back practising again.”

Tilly, along with fellow team members Rob Eyles, Tom Purnell, and Shaun Harper revised for months before the show, meeting up in the library up to four times a week to brush up on topics.

They also had a reserve member, Matthew Harper, who was ready to step in at the last minute if necessary.

Tilly with her parents, Tanya and SteveTilly with her parents, Tanya and Steve
Tilly with her parents, Tanya and Steve

Tilly said: “We were watching the show and noticing which topics came up.

“One week I spent reading up on bible quotes.

“It was nice to meet people who really like quizzes and to see the amount that they know on certain topics. For example, Shaun, who does Victorian Studies, knows everything about Dickens and Victorian literature. It was really interesting!”

The team were able to have a photograph with stalwart presenter Jeremy Paxman, and Tilly’s parents, Steve and Tanya Clark, were seated in the audience.

Tilly, who enjoys watching the show and competing against her mum, said: “I think my parents were proud, and my dad, when we came out, said he knew some of the answers.

“I don’t think the questions went our way, but it was nice to be against a team who had a female as their captain.”

Giving advice to fellow quiz fans, she added: “Always be curious!”

Tilly will be heading to the University of Portsmouth in September to study a PhD in Biological Sciences.