Published On: Thu, Aug 18th, 2022

Amol Rajan replaces Jeremy Paxman as University Challenge host | Ents & Arts News


Amol Rajan has been revealed as the new presenter of University Challenge, taking over from Jeremy Paxman in autumn 2023.

Paxman announced he would be stepping down from the much-loved show earlier this week. The 72-year-old broadcaster, who said hosting the show has been “a blast”, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year.

Thanks to the role, Paxman holds the record as the longest-serving current quizmaster on UK TV after 28 years in the hot seat.

Journalist and broadcaster Rajan will become only the third person to host the BBC programme, which first aired in 1962 with presenter Bamber Gascoigne.

The 39-year-old has been the BBC’s media editor since December 2016 and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme since May 2021.

He has also presented on BBC Radio 2 and The One Show and was previously editor of The Independent newspaper.

Rajan has called the show his “favourite TV programme” and says being offered the job of presenter is “dream-come-true territory”.

He said: “I have watched University Challenge obsessively for years, addicted to its high standards, glorious title music, and inspirational contestants.

“It’s the best possible antidote to cynicism about young people, allowing millions of us to test our wits against the best minds of a new generation, and annoy and impress our families by barking answers from the sofa.

“I am very conscious that in the late, great Bamber (Gascoigne), and that giant of British culture, Jeremy, I have vast shoes to fill. With his immense intellect, authority, and respect from students and viewers alike, Jeremy hands over a format, and show, as strong as ever.

“I won’t stop thinking today about my late, beloved Dad, whose devotion to education brought him to England, whose love of knowledge I imbibed as a kid, and whose belief in the noble challenge of university so shaped my life.

“I’ll devote my first Starter for 10 to him – and to the millions of quiz fiends who, like me, love those rare occasions when they know the answer before the students do.”

Rajan will step down as media editor at BBC News later in the year.

During his time at the BBC, The Duchess of Sussex complained about Rajan’s reporting of her legal case against the Mail On Sunday in his podcast Harry, Meghan And The Media show.

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only Undated BBC handout photo of of University Challenge's host Jeremy Paxman with the 2013 University Of Manchester team (left to right) David Brice, Adam Barr, Richard Gilbert (Captain), and Deborah Brown. Paxman is to step down as the host of University Challenge after 28 years, the BBC has announced. Issue date: Tuesday August 16, 2022.
Image:
Jeremy Paxman hosted University Challenge for 28 years. Pic: University Challenge/BBC 2

Similarly, his BBC documentary The Princes And The Press was criticised by the royal households and he apologised for comments which resurfaced after a decade which called the Duke of Edinburgh a “racist buffoon” and the Prince of Wales “scientifically illiterate”.

The BBC’s 2021/22 annual report showed Rajan was on a salary of £325,000-£329,999 and is expected to be paid more as the host of University Challenge.

He will continue to be a presenter on the Today programme and will also continue the Amol Rajan Interviews show.

The BBC has been pushing to improve diversity on the screen of late, and last year BBC News presenter and news anchor Clive Myrie replaced John Humphrys as host of Mastermind after the former Today Program host stepped down after 18 years.

This year University Challenge celebrates 60 years. It is the BBC’s longest-running quiz show.



Source link