University Challenge fans react as Jeremy Paxman starts final series

University Challenge fans react as Jeremy Paxman starts final series

August 30, 2022

‘It won’t be the same without Paxo!’ University Challenge viewers praise Jeremy Paxman as he kicks off his final series of the BBC quiz show after almost 30 years at the helm

  • Jeremy Paxman kicked off his final series as presenter of University Challenge
  • The 72-year-old is set to step down from his role at the end of this season’s run 
  • Paxman was business as usual as he introduced the first universities taking part

Jeremy Paxman kicked off his final series as host of University Challenge last night.

The British 72-year-old is set to step down from his role as presenter at the end of this season’s run after nearly three decades – and will be handing over to Amol Rajan.

Paxman was business as usual as he introduced the first of 28 universities taking part in the 2022 to 2023 series.

Bristol and Durham featured in the first episode, with the latter claiming victory with just seconds to spare, prompting a ‘You do like to live dangerously’ quip from Paxman.

Viewers rushed to Twitter following the episode to express their sadness over Paxman’s leaving, with one writing: ‘Oh it’s going to be so sad to hear Paxo’s name for the last time at the end of this series.’

Jeremy Paxman kicked off his final series as host of University Challenge last night (pictured)

 Viewers rushed to Twitter following the episode to express their sadness over Paxman’s leaving, with one writing: ‘Oh it’s going to be so sad to hear Paxo’s name for the last time at the end of this series.’

How many Starter For Ten questions can YOU answer? 

1. What five letter word may precede the words slate, verse and look?

2. In early 2022, in an attempted attack on the speaker of the US House of Representatives’ Nancy Pelosi, the congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene confused the term Gestapo with what?

3. What two word hyphenated term precedes stopper in its first citation in the OED, dated 1897, and plastics in its most recent, dated 2019.

4. You’ll see a diagram showing the reactions of industrial chemical process. For 10 points, please give the name of that process.

5. Intense non repeating flashes known as GRBs take their name for what form of high energy?

6. In 1962, Robert Bresson made a film about which historical figure as a direct response to what he called the ‘grotesque buffooneries’ of a silent film directed by Carl Theodore Dreyer?

7. Prominent geographical features of what African country includes sand seas such as the Great Western Erg and the Great Eastern Erg?

8. In the names of fictional establishments, what short word follows Bellamy’s in Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy and Junior Ganymede and Drones in the Jeeves and Wooster books?

9. In material science, for what does the letter C for Charlie stand in the abbreviation CA, CAB, CN and CP?

10. In 2021, what country named one of its two native land mammals as its bird of the year?

Another said: ‘37 weeks is a long lap of honour but Jeremy Paxman has earned it. He’s been a brilliant host (for TWENTY NINE YEARS) of University Challenge. Big shoes to fill.’

A third wrote: ‘I will miss Jeremy after this series’, while another viewer said on Twitter: ‘Quiet now, for the last series of Jeremy on University Challenge.’

A fifth added: ‘At least we have 37 episodes of Jeremy Paxman before he leaves! Won’t be the same without him!’

Paxman opened the series by saying: ‘The 2022 to 2023 University Challenge begins tonight. 121 institutions applied to take part this year, with the best 28 having been invited to compete for the series title.’

Reaction: University Challenge viewers shared their sadness on Twitter over Paxman’s last series

The host, who was made quizmaster in 1994, then introduced the contestants and offered a brief reminder of the rules.

Paxman, who is the longest-serving current quizmaster on UK TV, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year and will film his last episode of the show this autumn and his final series will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer through to summer 2023.

The journalist and broadcaster said: ‘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.’

In June 2014, Mr Paxman left BBC current affairs programme Newsnight after 25 years as its presenter.

Paxman (pictured) was business as usual as he introduced the first of 28 universities taking part in the 2022 to 2023 series

Bristol and Durham (pictured) featured in the first episode, with the latter claiming victory with just seconds to spare, prompting a ‘You do like to live dangerously’ quip from Paxman

He revealed in May last year that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He said his doctor had him tested for the incurable condition after seeing him on University Challenge during lockdown.

The veteran presenter said he suffered regular falls, including one that left him with ‘black eyes’, and admitted it was ‘very hard to know you’re not going to get better’.

Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted, said: ‘Since the BBC revived University Challenge in 1994 Jeremy has been at the front and centre of the show’s success and is without doubt one of the world’s finest, and most formidable quizmasters.

The broadcaster became the face of the revived University Challenge when it returned after a hiatus (pictured)

Now check your answers! 

1. Blank

2. Gazpacho

3. Single use

4. The contact process

5. Gamma ray burst

6. Joan of Arc

7. Algeria

8. Club

9. Cellulose 

10. New Zealand 

‘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.’

University Challenge’s executive producer Peter Gwyn said: ‘Jeremy has been our presenter, colleague and friend for 28 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.’

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