Another victory for famous UEA alumni in University Challenge semi final

Four famous former Norwich students once again demonstrated their thorough education by winning their semi-final of the special Christmas editions of University Challenge.

The University of East Anglia team, featuring author John Boyne, BBC journalists Razia Iqbal and David Grossman, and comedian and writer Charlie Higson, beat the University of Glasgow when the show was broadcast on BBC2 last night.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author Mr Boyne, who graduated from UEA in 1995 with a Masters degree in creative writing, said: 'I was astonished when we won the first round and even more surprised when we won the second.'

The semi final included questions on the winter and summer Olympic Games, trigonometry and the Adoration of the Magi.

Glasgow made a strong comeback in the closing stages, but perfect answers by the UEA team in the final round took them to victory, winning 150 to 115.

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Team captain and Newsnight political correspondent Mr Grossman said: 'It was probably the most nerve-racking thing I have done broadcasting-wise. I am used to high pressure situations, live reporting, up against tight deadlines, but this was something else.'

The alumni will now face New College Oxford in tonight's final after its team beat the University of Liverpool by 95 points on Wednesday.

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Mr Boyne, who insisted he 'just didn't want to disgrace' himself, said he, like his fellow graduates, had jumped at the chance to take part in the special Christmas editions of the quiz.

He added: 'I had a wonderful time as a student in 1994/5 and as a creative writing teacher in 2004/05. I take any excuse to return to UEA or to maintain connections with it.'

The final will be broadcast on BBC2 today at 6.30pm.

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