Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson, broadcaster Adrian Chiles, Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke and Springwatch presenter Martin Hughes-Games are among the famous faces taking part in Christmas University Challenge.
More than 50 prominent alumni from 14 universities and university colleges will take part in the festive specials.
The first clash, between Durham and Keble, Oxford, will air on BBC Two on Christmas Eve at 8pm and will see Durham alumni and actor Nick Mohammed, portrait artist Alex Talbot-Rice, musician Rod Clements and former England cricketer Caroline Foster take on Keble alumni and comedian Katy Brand, writer Frank Cottrell Boyce, Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, and Anne-Marie Imafidon, founder of science and technology enterprise Stemettes.
Each team will compete in one of seven first-round matches, after which the four teams with the highest winning scores will face each other in two semi-finals.
The winners of each of those ties will then face off for the title of series champions.
Dickinson will be joined on the team from Queen Mary, London, by Chiles, TV chef Ching-He Huang and science writer Marcus Chown.
Cooke will compete for Cardiff alongside BBC World News anchor Laura Trevelyan, former Wales international footballer Laura McAllister and science journalist Rhys Jones while the team from Reading will be made up of Hughes-Games, Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker, anthropologist Anna Machin and gardening broadcaster Pippa Greenwood.
Other notable figures taking part include comedian Viv Groskop and playwright Robin French, from Selwyn, Cambridge, West End composer Simon Webb, from York, broadcaster John Wilson, from Southampton, author Adele Parks and Paralympic champion Danielle Brown, from Leicester, writers Giles Foden and Frederic Raphael, from St John’s, Cambridge, comedian Emma Kennedy, from St Edmund Hall, Oxford, as well as footballer Eniola Aluko and Olympian Iwan Thomas from Brunel.