Page last updated at 02:50 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

University quiz hit by new claims

Christ Church College
Mr Markland was not at Christ Church when helping the college win in 2008

BBC Two's University Challenge has been hit by further embarrassment after it emerged that a previous winning team had fielded an ineligible contestant.

Charles Markland, 23, revealed he had transferred from Christ Church to Balliol College, Oxford, halfway through last year's competition.

On Monday, Oxford's Corpus Christi College was stripped of this year's title by the BBC.

Winning team member Sam Kay had already graduated and was in employment.

Mr Markland claimed his team captain contacted a researcher on University Challenge concerning the situation and was told that it was not a problem.

He said: "At the initial auditions in May 2007, my team captain informed a Granada television researcher that there was a possibility that I might be at a different college before the series had concluded filming.

The BBC had not been told about these alleged transgressions at the time

BBC spokeswoman

"He was told that this was not a problem, nor a barrier to entry for our team."

Once his team had advanced to the quarter-finals, Mr Markland had completed his switch to Balliol.

But the team captain was told to field the same team "for continuity purposes" and Mr Markland's changed status "was not a problem."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "The BBC had not been told about these alleged transgressions at the time and so was not in a position to do anything about them.

Record audience

"The 2009 final had been broadcast a matter of days ago, so we were in a position to take some meaningful action to address that particular matter and enforce the rules as audiences would expect us to do."

More than 5.3m people, a record audience, tuned in to see last week's final, which featured Corpus Christi's star contestant Gail Trimble.

The 26-year-old Latin scholar scored two-thirds of her team's 1,200 points before the final and has been described as the best contestant to grace the programme.

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