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UEA’s famous alumni to appear on University Challenge on Christmas Day

Comedian Arthur Smith returns to visit the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2011, after being a student their 30 years ago. Photo: Matthew Usher

Comedian Arthur Smith returns to visit the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 2011, after being a student their 30 years ago. Photo: Matthew Usher

Archant © 2005

Famous faces from the University of East Anglia in Norwich are set to appear on a festive edition of University Challenge on Christmas Day.

The popular BBC2 quiz show returns from December 24 until January 4 and sees alumni from universities across the UK compete, including UEA against Westminster University on December 25.

The well-known figures that will be facing the tough questions from Jeremy Paxman are BBC weather presenter Darren Bett, Radio 4 newsreader Zeb Soanes, comedian Arthur Smith and actress and Writer Vicki Pepperdine.

The show will broadcast at 6.05pm on December 25 and the Westminster team includes comedian Danny Wallace and neuroscientist Sophie Scott.

Back in October, current students at the university reached the first round of the TV show with Ed Bellamy, Matthew Reid, Matthew Walker and Madeline Forde-Roberts representing UEA against Keble College at Oxford University, but unfortunately they didn’t progress any further.

Jeremy Paxman in October 2013. Picture: Yui Mok/PA WireJeremy Paxman in October 2013. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Who are the UEA alumni team?

Darren Bett

Darren studied Environmental Science at UEA and received his degree in 1989.

In September that year he joined the Met Office as a weather forecaster and from 1997 he moved from Leeds, where he worked as a regional weather presenter, to work for BBC national news.

READ MORE: Eight places in Norfolk and Suffolk you can go for a Christmas swim

Zeb Soanes

Zeb was born in Lowestoft in Suffolk and was educated at Northfield St Nicholas Infants School, Harris Middle School and then at Denes High School and then studied Drama and Creative writing at UEA.

Near the end of his degree, Soanes appeared on a local BBC radio station promoting a charity improvised comedy show he was taking part in when he was spotted.

Arthur Smith

Comedian Arthur Smith studied Comparative Literature and graduated in 1976 with a 2:1 degree.

He was also chairman of the poetry society and wrote for the student newspaper.

In addition to stand-up comedy, Arthur starred in the Grumpy Old Men TV show, itcom Red Dwarf and the revival of Are You Being served as Mr Harman.

READ MORE: Nine cheap and free things to do in Norfolk this week - from ice skating to meeting reindeer

Vicki Pepperdine

Vicki studied history of art at UEA and afterwards applied to a drama school in London.

Vicki co-wrote an starred in BBC Four sitcom Getting on with Jo Brand and Joanna Scanlan and was nominated for two BAFTA TV Awards for best writing and has also appeared in Steve Coogan’s I’m Alan Partridge set in Norwich.

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