IT'S A question of fingers on buzzers as a team of famous University of Winchester alumni take part in Christmas University Challenge 2021 - including Overton's Mike Bushell.

Each year nearly 3 million viewers watch the special series of Christmas University Challenge on BBC2, where teams of graduates from UK universities face the formidable quizmaster and broadcaster Jeremy Paxman.

The Winchester line up is: Dirk Maggs (BEd 1974-78 and Honorary Fellow 2005), writer and director for audio drama, the stage, games, film and television; BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell (BA Drama, Theatre and Television 1984-87), who lives in Overton; Nicole Farley (BA Sports Development 2007-2010), the first full-time female coach appointed at Premier League football club West Ham, and stand-up comedian Shaparak (Shappi) Khorsandi (BA Drama, Theatre and Television 1992-95 and Honorary Doctors of Letters 2010), who is the team captain.

Dirk Maggs said: "It was a great honour for us to be asked to represent the University of Winchester in Christmas University Challenge and truly nerve-wracking to sit across the studio from Jeremy Paxman, whose acid humour actually conceals a very warm personality.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the experience once it was under way and the floor manager told us afterwards that our team was the most fun they'd had in the competition. The opposing teams were jealous of our University scarves too!"

Bushell, who also used to live in Whitchurch, is best known for appearing on Strictly Come Dancing in 2019, where he made it to the last eight with partner Katya Jones.

The programme airs at 8.30pm on Tuesday December 21 on BBC2 when the Winchester team battles the University of Bradford for a place in the semi-finals.

The University of Bradford team is: Anthony Finkelstein (President of City University, London); MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy; Martin Roberts (presenter of BBC's Homes Under the Hammer), and David Cowling (former editor of the BBC's Political Research Unit).