Jeremy Paxman has stepped down as host of the University Challenge after 28 years, ending his position as the longest-serving quizmaster on British television.
The 72-year-old, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, has been on the show since it was revived by the BBC in 1994.
He will shoot the final episodes this fall and will air the final series on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from Monday 29 August until summer 2023.
A journalist and broadcaster said:
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with an amazing team and meet some of the brightest minds in the country. It gives me hope for the future.”
In June 2014, Paxman left the company after 25 years as a presenter of the BBC’s current affairs program Newsnight.
He revealed he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in May 2021.
Kate Phillips, BBC’s Unscripted Director, said:
“We are so grateful to Jeremy for his incredible 28 years of dedication to the show. He will be greatly missed by all of us and the show’s millions of viewers.” .”
University Challenge Executive Producer Peter Gwynn said:
“Both our audience and the generations of students who have enjoyed the chance to face him in over 1000 matches will miss him.”
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The program’s new hosts, who will pit students in teams of four against rival universities and colleges on questions such as ’10 starters’, will be announced later this week, according to the BBC.
First broadcast in 1962 by Bamber Gascoyne, the University Challenge is the longest-running television quiz show in the UK, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
To mark the occasion, a special documentary will air on Monday 29 August at 9pm on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.
Born in Leeds, Paxman began his career with the BBC’s Graduate Trainee Program in 1972, working for local radio and covering Belfast’s troubles.
Shortly after moving to London in 1977, he moved from Tonight to the investigative flagship program Panorama, appearing on Six O’Clock News and BBC One’s Breakfast Time.
He became a Newsnight presenter in 1989, a position he held until June 2014, during which time he interviewed political and cultural luminaries.
Paxman, who retired for the first time in 25 years, presented a Newsnight program that included an interview with then-London Mayor Boris Johnson, who was riding a tandem bicycle.
He announced in May 2021 that he was being treated for Parkinson’s disease, but said his symptoms were “currently mild.”
Earlier this month, ITV released a documentary in which Paxman discusses his diagnosis and meets people at the forefront of research.