Aber graduates face Paxman

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman

16 December 2013

Aberystwyth University is among 14 universities to compete this year in the Christmas University Challenge featuring prominent graduates and hosted by Jeremy Paxman.

The Aberystwyth line-up includes Dr Timothy Brain, former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Chris Leek, British Mensa board member, Elfyn Llwyd, barrister and Plaid Cymru MP, and Dan Jarvis, MP and a Shadow Minster for Justice (biographies below).

Aberystwyth University go head-to-head with Keele University on Monday 23 December on BBC2 at 8pm. 

Elfyn Llwyd explains, “Aberystwyth always has and always will hold a special place in my heart and it is always a pleasure to come back to Aberystwyth.

“As far as the Christmas University Challenge is concerned, all I can say is that it was an experience! This comes from someone who has been on Question Time on several occasions.”

Dr Timothy Brain, a member and Treasurer of the Council of Aberystwyth University, added, “It was great honour to represent Aberystwyth and a great deal of fun.”

This will be the third Christmas series to have been transmitted over the Christmas period which last year, saw the competition won by a team representing New College, Oxford.

Each team will compete in one of seven first-round matches. The four teams with the highest winning scores will play in two semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final.

Dan Jarvis MP
Member of Parliament for Barnsley Central
Dan studied International politics and Strategic Studies at Aberystwyth and graduated in 1996. Along with a number of his contemporaries from Aberystwyth, he went from University straight to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the British Army in 1997. In 2011 he resigned from the Army in order to contest a parliamentary by-election and is now the MP for Barnsley Central and a Shadow Justice Minister.

Former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire
Dr Timothy Brain was Chief Constable of Gloucestershire from 2001 until his retirement in January 2010, having previously served in Avon and Somerset, Hampshire and the West Midlands.

Before joining the police he graduated with first class honours in history from Aberystwyth University and later gained a doctorate also in history.  He retains a continuing interest in history and frequently lectures on aspects of church, military and police history. His book A History of Policing in England and Wales from 1974 was published by Oxford University Press in March 2010. His new book A future for policing was published in October in 2013.

He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Gloucestershire, holds honorary fellowships at Cardiff and Aberystwyth universities, and is a member of the Council of Aberystwyth University as well as the Treasurer. He was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2002 and the OBE in 2008.

Chris Leek
British Mensa board member
Chris has been Chairman of Mensa International and of British Mensa and is currently Director of both boards.

Born in Birmingham in 1956, Chris Leek graduated from Aberystwyth University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology. He has worked in the IT industry since graduation and after some years working for Whitbread, Chris moved on to work for BT and currently work for BT Openreach as a Portfolio Designer. His wife is also a fellow Mensan and so are his three children.

Elfyn Llwyd
Barrister and Plaid Cymru MP
Elfyn Llwyd was elected to Westminster for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy in 1992, following the retirement from the House of Commons of Lord Elis-Thomas. Following boundary changes he contested the new seat of Dwyfor Meirionnydd at the 2010 election and was successful.

Born in 1951 in Betws-y-Coed, he was educated at Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy in Llanrwst, University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and the College of Law, Chester. He qualified as a solicitor in 1977 and was called to the Bar in 1997.

Elfyn Llwyd is currently Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group at Westminster. A member of the Justice Select Committee, he speaks for Plaid Cymru on the Constitution, Defence, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Justice.