‘Being asked to host my favourite TV programme is dream-come-true territory. I have watched University Challenge obsessively for years, addicted to its high standards, glorious title music, and inspirational contestants’
Amol Rajan will replace Jeremy Paxman as the host of ‘University Challenge’ (Photo: John Phillips/Getty/Advertising Week)
By Alannah Francis
Amol Rajan has been named as the new host of University Challenge, taking over from Jeremy Paxman who has presented the TV quiz programme for almost three decades.
The announcement comes just days after it was revealed Paxman would step down from the role this autumn.
BBC journalist and broadcaster Rajan will become the show’s new presenter in autumn 2023 after Paxman’s final episodes air in the summer.
Rajan, a former editor of The Independent newspaper, said the appointment was a “dream come true” and acknowledged he had big shoes to fill in replacing the veteran broadcaster.
He said: “Being asked to host my favourite TV programme is dream-come-true territory. 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 who has been the BBC’s media editor since December 2016 and a presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme since May 2021 will step down as media editor later in the year.
He will continue to present on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and produce Amol Rajan Interviews.