Who is Amol Rajan? All you need to know about the new 'University Challenge' host

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·4 min read
Amol Rajan has been announced as the new host of University Challenge. (PA)
Amol Rajan has been announced as the new host of University Challenge. (PA)

University Challenge has named its new host who will take over from Jeremy Paxman as Amol Rajan.

But who is the presenter and what is he known for? Find out more about the man taking over TV's toughest quiz show.

Read more: Have I Got News For You returns with Boris Johnson tribute special

Who is Amol Rajan?

Amol Rajan
Amol Rajan is the BBC's media editor. (Getty)

Amol Rajan is a journalist and broadcaster who has worked for the BBC since 2016, when he was appointed as media editor.

The 39-year-old, whose family moved to south west London from India when he was three, had previously worked as a newspaper journalist writing for The Independent and the Evening Standard, and became editor of The Independent in 2013 aged just 29.

Read more: How to watch House of the Dragon in the UK

Rajan has also worked as a media advisor to Alexander Lebedev's son.

He lives in London with his wife Charlotte Faircloth and their three children.

What else has Amol Rajan presented?

Rajan Interviews Ian McKellen,03-03-2022,Amol Rajan Interviews Ian McKellen,Sir Ian McKellen, Amol Rajan,Picture shows: Sir Ian McKellen, Amol Rajan ,BBC Studios,Production
Amol Rajan Interviewed Sir Ian McKellen. (BBC)

Rajan has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows during his career, with an early role on The Wright Stuff in 2006.

He has presented for The One Show, provided holiday cover for a number of BBC Radio 2 shows, is part of the presenting team on Radio 4's Today programme and hosts the station's Media Show.

Read more: The most exciting TV still to come in 2022

Viewers might have seen him more recently on the BBC documentary about Princes William and Harry The Princes and the Press, and in his BBC Two Amol Rajan Interviews series where he has met Sir Ian McKellen, Nile Rodgers, Billie Jean King, Novak Djokovic and Sharon White.

Rajan is set to step down from his role as the BBC's media editor later this year, but will continue with Today and Amol Rajan Interviews.

When will Amol Rajan take over University Challenge from Jeremy Paxman?

Jeremy Paxman grilling students on University Challenge (ITV Studios/BBC)
Jeremy Paxman will film his last University Challenge series this autumn. (ITV Studios/BBC)

Paxman's retirement from the BBC Two quiz show was announced earlier in the week, where he confirmed that he would be filming his final series after 28 years in the role this autumn and that it would continue to air through to summer 2023.

Rajan is set to take over as host when he begins filming the new series in autumn 2023.

He said: “Being asked to host my favourite TV programme is dream-come-true territory. I have watched University Challenge obsessively for years, addicted to its high standards, glorious title music, and inspirational contestants. It’s the best possible antidote to cynicism about young people, allowing millions of us to test our wits against the best minds of a new generation, and annoy and impress our families by barking answers from the sofa.

Amol Rajan (ITV)
Amol Rajan says it is a 'dream come true' to land the role. (ITV)

"I am very conscious that in the late, great Bamber, and that giant of British culture, Jeremy, I have vast shoes to fill. With his immense intellect, authority, and respect from students and viewers alike, Jeremy hands over a format, and show, as strong as ever.

"I won’t stop thinking today about my late, beloved Dad, whose devotion to education brought him to England, whose love of knowledge I imbibed as a kid, and whose belief in the noble challenge of university so shaped my life. I’ll devote my first Starter for 10 to him - and to the millions of quiz fiends who, like me, love those rare occasions when they know the answer before the students do.”

Who has presented University Challenge?

Bamber Gascoigne, TV personality, portrait at home. 1st November 1966. (Photo by Daily Herald/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Bamber Gascoigne was the first host. (Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Rajan joins a select group of presenters for the series as he is only the third ever host, despite it being Britain's longest-running quiz show.

Bamber Gascoigne originally launched it on ITV in 1962 and continued in the role until 1987, when the show took a lengthy break.

Jeremy Paxman then took over as host when the BBC revived it in 1994 and will end his nearly 30 years in the job with his final appearance in 2023.

Watch: Bamber Gascoigne presents University Challenge in 1984