University Challenge

Amol Rajan to replace Jeremy Paxman as University Challenge host

Earlier this week, Paxman announced his departure from the series after 28 years at its helm. His final series will air from 29 August through to Summer 2023.

Said Paxman: “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.”

Rajan has been BBC News’ Media Editor since December 2016 but he will step down later in the year. He will, however, continue his presenting role on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Why is University Challenge still so popular?

Famous for its split-screen display, eccentric student contestants, difficult questions and intimidating host, University Challenge has been an almost constant fixture on our screens for more than 50 years.

The programme has clocked up over 1,600 episodes and regularly pulls in audiences of 3 million. Its impressive reign continues into the online era, despite barely changing the format, its staging or the rules of the show.

What are the secrets of its extraordinary success? Is it the questions, the contestants, or the format?