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Jeremy Paxman to stand down as University Challenge host after 28 years

Paxman has hosted the beloved BBC quiz since 1994

By Nick Reilly

Jeremy Paxman (Picture: BBC)
Jeremy Paxman (Picture: BBC)

Jeremy Paxman has announced he will step down as host of University Challenge after a mammoth 28-year run at the helm of the beloved BBC quiz series.

Paxman, who has hosted the show since 1994, will film his last episode this autumn and his final series will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from Monday 29 August until summer 2023.

In his lengthy tenure as host, Paxman became known and well-liked for his signature straight-down-the-line style, often dishing out cutting looks and delivering a droll tone of voice to contestants who gave the wrong answers.

“I’ve had a blast hosting this wonderful series for nearly 29 years. I’ve been lucky enough to work with an amazing team and to meet some of the swottier brains in the country. It gives me hope for the future,” said Paxman of his time on the show.

Fans of the show will not have long to wait until they find out the identity of the next host, with the BBC promising an announcement later this week.

Peter Gwyn, Executive Producer of University Challenge, said: “Jeremy has been our presenter, colleague and friend for twenty-eight years, and everyone on the University Challenge production team will miss him greatly. He’ll be sorely missed too by both our audience and by the generations of students who’ve relished the chance to pit themselves against him in more than a thousand matches.”

University Challenge first aired in 1962 and sees universities across the U.K. contending against each other in a tense battle of intellect.

It was presented by the late Bamber Gascoigne from its inception until 1994, when Paxman became host.