Jeremy Paxman to leave University Challenge after almost thirty years


Jeremy Paxman is set to leave the BBC’s longest-running quiz show, University Challenge, after 28 years at the helm.

British quiz royalty loses one of its big stars today, as University Challenge’s curmudgeonly quiz master Jeremy Paxman has announced his departure from the show.

The former Newsnight presenter will chair his last episode this autumn, with the final series set to air this time next year. In a statement, Paxman said he’d “had a blast hosting this wonderful series for nearly 29 years” and had “been lucky enough to work with an amazing team and to meet some of the swottier brains in the country.”

Paxman took over hosting duties from Bamber Gascoigne for the show’s revival in 1994, and will be remembered for his signature no-nonsense approach to the job, and for seeing in many of University Challenge’s most eccentric contestants.

University Challenge

Paxman has hosted the show since its revival in 1994

BBC Unscripted Director Kate Philips said Paxman was “at the front and centre of the show’s success and without doubt one of the world’s finest, and most formidable quizmasters.

“We are hugely grateful to Jeremy for his dedication to the programme for an incredible 28 years, he will be much missed by us all and the show’s millions of viewers.”

Nothing has been said on the show’s future, though in an eerie parallel with the Conservative leadership contest, the hunt will no-doubt soon be on for Paxman’s successor. Perhaps the runner-up, if denied a position in the winner’s cabinet, could take up the mantle. If the blue-on-blue action in the debates was anything to go by, they’ve got the trademark disdain down to a point. Or maybe they’ll give it to Anne Robinson again.

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