Amol Rajan: who is new host of BBC’s University Challenge, when is he replacing Jeremy Paxman - is he married?

The broadcaster has been in a relationship with Charlotte Faircloth for over a decade

Jeremy Paxman will step down as host of BBC Two quiz show University Challenge - which he has presented since 1994 - in autumn next year.

Amol Rajan will take over as host of the show after Paxman, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, leaves at the end of the upcoming season, the BBC confirmed earlier this month.

Although University Challenge first aired 60 years ago, Rajan will be just the third host, following Paxman, and Bamber Gascoigne, who helmed the show from 1962-1987, when the series went off air for seven years.

Rajan will be the third presenter in the show’s 60-year history, following on from Paxman and first host Bamber Gascoigne.

But, just who is Amol Rajan, when will he begin presenting University Challenge, and what has he said about his new job?

Here’s everything you need to know.

Journalist and broadcaster Amol Rajan will take over from Jeremy Paxman as the host of TV show University Challenge.Journalist and broadcaster Amol Rajan will take over from Jeremy Paxman as the host of TV show University Challenge.
Journalist and broadcaster Amol Rajan will take over from Jeremy Paxman as the host of TV show University Challenge.

Who is Amol Rajan?

Amol Rajan, aged 39, has been the BBC‘s Media Editor since December 2016, and he’s also been a presenter on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 since 2021.

Rajan’s new job means he will step down as the BBC’s media editor in the coming months.

Since 2017, Rajan has provided holiday cover for several presenters on BBC Radio 2, including Simon Mayo, Jeremy Vineand Zoe Ball.

Rajan has also occasionally presented BBC One’s magazine and chat show The One Show, and appeared as a guest judge on popular BBC cooking show Masterchef.

Rajan was born in Calcutta, India, but he was three when his family moved to England, and he was raised in Tooting, South West London.

He was state school educated at Graveney School, in Tooting, and read English at Downing College, Cambridge.

What has Amol Rajan said about presenting University Challenge?

Rajan said that University Challenge was his “favourite programme” and expressed his joy at being asked to take on the role of host.

In a statement, 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."

Referring to the long-running show’s two previous hosts, he added: "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."

In a further statement on Instagram, he wrote: “I can honestly say University Challenge is my favourite show. I love it. The music, the students, the format, the history, the shameless intellectual ambition. And I love being a quizmaster, as my mates can attest. So this feels massively humbling.”

When will Amol Rajan take over as University Challenge host?

Rajan will take on the role as host of University Challenge from autumn 2023 onwards.

No official start date has been given, so we don’t yet know exactly when Rajan will record his first episode or when it will be broadcast.

We’ll update this article with more information as we get it.

Is Amol Rajan married?

Yes, Rajan is married. He has been with his wife, academic Charlotte Faircloth, for over a decade.

They married in September 2013 in Cambridge.

They live in London together and have three children.