Richard Osman and Bobby Seagull lead tributes to ‘brilliant’ Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman will soon step down from University Challenge after 28 incredible years (Picture; BBC)

Jeremy Paxman has been flooded with tributes from famous fans and viewers after announcing he has stepped down from University Challenge after nearly 3 decades.

Paxman, 72, has been the host of the programme since 1994, and is currently the longest-serving quizmaster on UK TV.

However, the broadcaster and presenter, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, revealed he would soon be ending his quizzing reign

He 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.’

Mathematician and broadcaster Seagull, who found fame on the show in 2017, said he is ‘sad’ to see Paxman leave the role. 

He commented on BBC Radio 4’s World At One: ‘I’m, like many other fans, sad to see the end of the time of the great and formidable Jeremy Paxman.

Bobby was among those to pay tribute (Picture: S Meddle/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
He’s been the quizmaster for nearly 30 years (Picture: BBC TWO)

‘He has just become an institution. For many quiz fans every Monday night we have a routine, the pinnacle of the quiz night is University Challenge, Paxman since 1994 has been the centrepiece of that.

‘Jeremy Paxman, he generally really respects the idea of a programme where young people and older students can demonstrate there knowledge, it shows value of knowledge.

‘University Challenge is the epitome of that. There are gimmicky game shows that are fun, University Challenge is all about the knowledge and that is something that is really prized in the 21st century.’

Richard credits himself with introducing Jeremy Paxman to Nando’s (Picture: PA)

Elsewhere, House of Games host Osman, 51, wrote on Twitter: ‘Two hosts in 50 years. Both of them brilliant.’

Paxman’s predecessor Bamber Gascoigne was at the helm of the programme for 25 years, from 1962 until 1987, and died earlier this year, aged 87.

Osman went on to add a hilarious anecdote about the quiz show host, writing: ‘One of my greatest claims to fame is that I introduced Jeremy Paxman to Nando’s.’

The 72-year-old will continue to host until the summer of 2023, before he bids his final farewell.

A new presenter will then be announced this week, with favourites currently including Osman, as well as Sandi Toksvig and Richard Ayoade.

Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: ‘They’re big shoes to fill, but the odds suggest Jeremy Paxman’s job could soon be given to Sandi Toksvig, with Richard Osman unsurprisingly among the frontrunners.’

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