University Challenge (found "Press Special: Tabloids v Broadsheets" episode of BBC quiz show; 1999)

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Status: Found

Date found: 22 Aug 2021

Found by: Archive Man

University Challenge is a ITV-produced BBC quiz show whereby different universities take part in a series of head-to-head matches in order to win an overall tournament at the end of the season. It has been airing since September 1962. During holiday seasons, especially Christmas, there are celebrity variations, usually when prominent faces in British society practice out a similar format to usually represent their universities, albeit these matches are one-offs.


One such episode was aired on New Year's Day 1999,[1] of which focused on a group of British journalists clashing with each other, with one team representing the tabloid element of the press, and the other representing the broadsheet one. The contestants included:


  • Jane Moore, a columnist and interviewer for The Sun.
  • Peter Hitchens, a then columnist for the Daily Express. This was before he left it in 2000 due to his displeasure with its new ownership.[2]
  • Ann Leslie, a columnist for the Daily Mail.
  • Tony Parsons, a writer for the Daily Mirror.


  • Decca Aitkenhead, a columnist for The Guardian.
  • Libby Purves, a then columnist for The Times.
  • Boris Johnson, a then columnist for Daily Telegraph. Johnson would later become a Conservative MP in 2001, London Mayor in 2008 and Prime Minister between 2019 and 2022.
  • Richard Ingrams, a writer for The Observer and the then editor of The Oldie magazine, a position he resigned from in May 2014 over a publishing dispute.[3]

The Tabloids comfortably won the match with 210 points, as opposed to the Broadsheet's 165.


The episode was lost for over 20 years until it resurfaced in 2021 on YouTube due to the since-deleted channel Archive Man.[4] The aforementioned Hitchens publicised the matter in his Mail on Sunday blog,[5] as did that newspaper in general.

While the original upload has been deleted due to the termination of Archive Man's account, it was reuploaded soon after by user Stressball13 soon after.


See Also