Jeremy Paxman signs off University Challenge for the last time following Parkinson’s diagnosis

Virgin Radio

30 May 2023, 12:13

Jeremy Paxman

Credit: Getty

Jeremy Paxman has signed off University Challenge for the last time and admits he is “looking forward to watching it from home”.

The broadcaster has hosted the BBC series since it was revived in 1994 and announced he was stepping down from the quiz show in August last year following his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.

He announced he was being treated for Parkinson’s in May 2021 but said his symptoms were “currently mild”.

Paxman became known for his disapproving looks and quick remarks to contestants during his 29 years on the show and he will be replaced by journalist and broadcaster Amol Rajan.

Rajan will only be the third host of the programme in its 61-year history.

In Paxman’s final episode, Durham University became the University Challenge champions 2022-2023, with author Jung Chang handing over the stainless steel book award to the winners.

Change said: “I’m really pleased to be invited here to present the trophy because University Challenge was the most prestigious programme to me when I first arrived in Britain in 1978.”

“I grew up in Cultural Revolution China, when schools and the universities were all closed, (Chairman) Mao said: ‘The more books you read, the more stupid you become.’

“And (the) books were burned across China and so tonight, I watched these brilliant minds at work, and I want to congratulate them for their brilliant brains, and I do hope that they would use their brains to make our world a better place.”

Durham beat Bristol University by 155 to 120 and Paxman reassured it was “absolutely fine” to be runners-up and “go out in the final”.

In his last ever sign-off on the show, Paxman said: “It remains for me to thank Jung Chang for presenting the trophy, all the teams who have entertained us over the past months, and you for watching.”

University Challenge will return this summer with Rajan at the helm as a new set of students go head-to-head to bring their university to victory.