University Challenge results, 1978-1980

These are the results of the sixteenth series of University Challenge which ran weekly on ITV, starting in the week of 27 November 1978 and ending on 11 February 1980, running for 41 shows. In Anglia the series was mostly shown on Mondays at 17:15, with a running time of 30 minutes.

Once again the first round had a 'winner-stays-on' format, with a team qualifying for the quarter-finals if they won three in a row, and the quarter-finals and semi-finals were single-game knockouts, with the final 'best-of-three'.

As this series spanned two Christmases, there were a number of special shows. For the first time, the usual students vs dons game was shown in the week straight after the final, so I've included it in this series, plus the 1978 champions Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge played a team of their dons (Michael Wadsworth, Paul Dawson, Derek Beales, Christopher Parish) at New Year 1979. The 1979 series champions, Bradford, also played their dons as the final game of this series.

In addition in 1978, the makers of the US show College Bowl, on which University Challenge is based, challenged the UK to a "College Bowl World Championship" match, played under College Bowl rules. Thus on 14 May 1978 a team of "UK All-Stars" made up of some of the strongest competitors from previous series took on and beat the US Champions, Stanford University in a game recorded in Miami. The UK team comprised Brian Anderson and Steve O'Leary from series champions Durham University, Clarence Rickards of Nottingham, Ian Kramer of Oxford and Mastermind 1974 finalist Susan Reynolds of the Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford team who had lost to Hull in the 1975 series.

Finally, on New Year's Eve 1979 there was a second US vs UK game in which 1978 champions Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (David Lidington, Nicholas Graham, John Adam and John Gilmore (with reserve Steve Badsey)) played Davidson College, North Carolina, (Tom Ruby, James Gibert, Tim Newcomb and Edward Turnbull (with reserve Sheri Gravett)) winners of College Bowl the "American version of the programme". Played under University Challenge rules, Sidney won by five points.

For the whole of the Bamber era TV schedules differed between the different ITV regions, and the show was often broadcast at different times and on different days in different parts of the country, and sometimes the regions were even a week or two out of sync with each other. Where the date differed, I try to use the date the show was broadcast in the Anglia region in the tables.

There are many gaps that I've been unable to find, so please do contact me if you can assist.

First round
27/11/1978Newcastle
04/12/1978NewcastleTrinity Hall, Cambridge
11/12/1978Newcastle
18/12/1978
08/01/1979
15/01/1979
22/01/1979
29/01/1979
05/02/1979LSESt Andrews
12/02/1979St AndrewsSt Peter's, Oxford
19/02/1979
26/02/1979Worcester, OxfordBradford
05/03/1979
12/03/1979
19/03/1979Balliol, OxfordAberdeen
26/03/1979Balliol, OxfordPeterhouse, Cambridge
02/04/1979Balliol, OxfordCardiff
09/04/1979CardiffNew Hall, Cambridge
23/04/1979New Hall, Cambridge
30/04/1979New Hall, Cambridge
07/05/1979
14/05/1979
21/05/1979
04/06/1979
11/06/1979
18/06/1979Southampton220235Girton, Cambridge
25/06/1979Girton, CambridgeBedford, London
02/07/1979
Quarter-finals
26/11/1979NewcastleLancaster
03/12/1979St Hugh's, OxfordPembroke, Cambridge
10/12/1979St AndrewsNew Hall, Cambridge
17/12/1979BradfordCorpus Christi, Cambridge
Semi-finals
28/12/1979St Hugh's, OxfordLancaster
14/01/1980BradfordNew Hall, Cambridge
Final
21/01/1980LancasterBradford
28/01/1980LancasterBradford
04/02/1980Lancaster160215Bradford
Specials
28/12/1978Stanford55330UK
02/01/1979Sidney Sussex, Cambridge students295180Sidney Sussex, Cambridge dons
31/12/1979Sidney Sussex, Cambridge215210Davidson College, NC
11/02/1980Bradford studentsBradford dons

The series champions from Bradford were John Watt (Computer Science), Mike Bradford (Computer Science), Don Simkin (Computer Science), and Maxwell Cooter (Human Studies). Their prize was a set of three prints by David Hockney.

Maxwell Cooter of the winning Bradford team studied at Varndean Grammar School in Brighton, the same school as Simon Shaffer of Trinity, Cambridge 1974 and Ken Brown of Durham 1977, surely the only state school with three series champions!

Other teams appearing on this series include St David's, Lampeter; Sheffield.

St Andrews beat LSE then St Peter's, Oxford in the first round. In the first round Lancaster won two games and then lost to St Hugh's College, Oxford. St Hugh's then beat St David's, Lampeter and a third game to qualify for the quarter-finals. Lancaster lodged a protest that St Hugh's had been correctly awarded a starter that was incorrect and so were allowed to qualify for the quarter-finals as well. Newcastle beat Trinity Hall and Sheffield as two of their three first round games. A different source gives the team that beat Balliol in their third game as UWIST.

Winning teams advancing to the next round are in bold.