University Challenge engulfed in sexism row as TV stars snubbed for promised auditions before it was given to Amol Rajan

THE BBC are facing a sexism row after Amol Rajan was appointed host of University Challenge – despite two women being told they would get screen tests.

Insiders say Emma Barnett, 37, and Samira Ahmed, 54, were both promised a chance to audition to be Jeremy Paxman’s replacement.

University Challenge engulfed in sexism row as TV stars snubbed for promised auditions before it was given to Amol Rajan

Amol Rajan was appointed host of University Challenge despite two women being both promised an audition to be Jeremy Paxman’s replacementCredit: PA

University Challenge engulfed in sexism row as TV stars snubbed for promised auditions before it was given to Amol Rajan

The duo were Jeremy’s two standby understudies, making the snub even more baffling

But bosses reneged on the offer and gave it to the organisation’s media editor, 39, anyway.

The duo were Jeremy’s two standby understudies, meaning they would be called on if he missed an episode, making the snub even more baffling.

The Sun understands the BBC was set on hiring a man for the job – with Mock The Week host Dara Ó Briain, 50, another contender.

A source said: “Has the BBC not learned anything from the gender pay row all those years ago?

“It seems to be another case of jobs for the boys.”

TV icon Jeremy, 72, announced in the week he would be leaving the role after 27 years.

He revealed last year that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Amol, who also presents on the Today programme on Radio 4, said it was a “dream come true”.

It comes after Samira took the BBC to a tribunal in 2020 after being paid a fraction of her male colleague Jeremy Vine, 57, for similar work.

A BBC spokeswoman said yesterday: “Organisations can make their own creative decisions about entertainment programme presenters.”

University Challenge engulfed in sexism row as TV stars snubbed for promised auditions before it was given to Amol Rajan

Emma Barnett, 37, was one of the candidates to have been promised an auditionCredit: PA

University Challenge engulfed in sexism row as TV stars snubbed for promised auditions before it was given to Amol Rajan

A source said 'It seems to be another case of jobs for the boys' as Samira Ahmed, 54, was also snubbedCredit: Getty

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