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University of East Anglia alumni challenged on national television

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; (Picture courtesy of ITV Studios Ltd)

Wed, 19 Dec 2012

Author and comedian Charlie Higson will be among the four high-profile University of East Anglia (UEA) graduates taking part in a special series of University Challenge over Christmas.

Newsnight correspondent David Grossman will lead the team comprising BBC journalist Razia Iqbal, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas author John Boyne and Charlie Higson, who starred in programmes including The Fast Show and Swiss Toni.

David Grossman said: "I'm used to answering Jeremy's questions in the Newsnight studio but - without giving away too many secrets - there are ways to dodge the difficult ones. On University Challenge there is no hiding place!

"I'm delighted to have the chance to take part in the Christmas special. It's such an honour to have a go at the toughest quiz on TV, and captain the UEA team."

Although the result - and whether the team progresses - is a closely guarded secret, UEA will compete in their first round match on BBC2 on January 1.

January marks the beginning of UEA's 50th anniversary year, with a programme of events and celebrations scheduled throughout the coming months. Visit for more information.

David Grossman graduated from UEA in 1987 with a degree in politics. He has gone on to work extensively as a journalist across the country, and is currently a political correspondent for BBC2's Newsnight - an experience that served him well when coming face-to-face with University Challenge host Jeremy Paxman.

Charlie Higson left UEA in 1980 after studying for a BA in English and American Literature. It was there he met his future bandmates who later became known as The Higsons. He has gone on to have a varied career as an actor in series such as The Fast Show, as well as writing prolifically - both in books and for television.

BBC journalist and presenter Razia Iqbal completed an American Studies degree at UEA in 1981. Formerly an arts correspondent for BBC News, she currently presents Newshour on the BBC World Service, along with reporting on big stories for various outlets across the corporation.

Novelist John Boyne is perhaps most well-known for penning the novel behind the international film sensation The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Since graduating from UEA with a Masters in Creative Writing in 1994, he has written ten novels for children and adults, and his latest work The House is Haunted will be released in 2013.

(Picture courtesy of ITV Studios Ltd)