The 10 Most Successful Quiz Teams in University Challenge History

10/08/2012 16:20 BST | Updated 09/10/2012 10:12 BST

The popular quiz show University Challenge has been on our screens continuously since 1994 but the programme itself was first shown way back in 1962. Over the 50 years since its inception, there have been some impressive displays from students on the show and here ten of the most successful quiz teams. We've done the leg work to put them in lovely little list for you!

1. University College Oxford, 1987.

The all-time record for points scoring in any one match was 520 by the students of University College Oxford. The show had celebrated its 25th year of broadcasting in 1987 but sadly, it was taken off our screens to begin a seven year hiatus.

The feat from University College was therefore a fitting way to sign off as they eclipsed Reading in the first round but it was to be another Oxford College - Keble - that ultimately lifted the trophy that year.

2. Magdalen College, Oxford, various.

In terms of highest points scored in a single match, Magdalen College only appear 9th on the list with a best of 405 in their 1983 quarter final with Reading. However, Magdalen have won the overall title on four occasions - a record for both the modern and previous eras.

With wins in 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2011, these Oxford Students could argue the case with their neighbours at Keeble as to who is the most successful team on the show.

3. Birkbeck College, London 1983.

Prior to University College's record achievement in the final series of 1987, Birkbeck looked like to hold the record as the programme finished and headed for an uncertain future.

Birkbeck managed to rack up 430 points in a first round encounter in 1983 and that still remains the second highest all time total. Impressive though it was, it makes the 520 scored by University College Oxford even more outstanding.

4. Leeds University 1970(ish).

Records prior to 1980 are a little sketchy thanks to lost tapes and a lack of enthusiasts ready to note down all the achievements. As a result, much was contained in the head of original host Bamber Gascoigne.

It's widely accepted that Leeds scored 425 points in the 1970s but nobody seems to know exactly when or against whom the feat was attained.

5. The Open University 1984 and 1997.

The Open University have a good record of success having won University Challenge twice. In 1984, they equalled Leeds score of 425 in an earlier round and are therefore tied for third in the all-time highest points list.

However, the Open University's class of 1997 also hold 5th place in the table on their own, having scored 415 points in their 1997 semi-final against Charing Cross.

6. Peterhouse College, Cambridge, 1964.

Compared with their Oxford rivals, Cambridge teams have a relatively poor record in the programme. Their highest points total in any single match was recorded by Peterhouse who amassed a score of 410 in a first round clash.

The feat is worthy of note however as it was achieved way back in 1964 and therefore rates as one of the longest held records in the programme's history.

7. Trinity College, Cambridge, 1995.

Trinity's noteworthy feat sees them attain the highest score in a University Challenge Final. This record was secured back in 1995 when their impressive team racked up 390 points in their defeat of New College, Oxford.

The tally is also the third highest in the modern era and is only bettered by the Open University, who exceeded it on two occasions.

8. Durham University, 1999 - 2000.

Durham also make it onto the list of highest points in a final when they notched a moderately impressive 325 against Oriel, Oxford in 2000.

That mark is worthy of note however because Durham's teams of 1999 and 2000 recorded some mighty wins overall. Their personal best was 360 in the second round of 2000 but a knowledgeable set of four-member units currently appear five times in the modern era's top 30 points scorers.

9. University of Manchester, various.

Manchester deserve a mention for winning the title three times in the modern era and the teams involved set some noteworthy targets along the way.

They are the only university to win on three occasions since 2000 and in terms of highest victory margins, their combined teams feature in the top ten three times. As far as University Challenge is concerned therefore, Manchester are clearly the team of the new millennium.

10. Edinburgh, various.

In terms of longevity, Edinburgh University has no equal, having appeared in 14 out of a possible 17 series since 1994. Durham are lurking in second place however with 13 appearances and could take this accolade in the near future.

By comparison, Durham have lifted the modern trophy twice while Edinburgh have no series wins to show so far for their own individual record.