Who is Amol Rajan? BBC journalist announced as the new host of University Challenge

·2-min read
Amol Rajan is the new host of University Challenge.  (PA)
Amol Rajan is the new host of University Challenge. (PA)

Amol Rajan has been announced as the new host of University Challenge, as Jeremy Paxman steps down after 28 years.

The BBC journalist will become only the third presenter in 60 years, after Paxman and Bamber Gascoigne.

In a statement, Rajan said: “Being asked to host my favourite TV programme is dream-come-true territory."

But who is Amol Rajan, the new host of University Challenge?

Who is Amol Rajan?

Amol Rajan, 39, is a journalist who is currently the BBC’s media editor, though he will step down from this position to host University Challenge. He also presents Radio 4’s Today programme.

Before working at the BBC, Rajan worked as an editor and restaurant critic at The Independent and as a columnist at the Evening Standard. He also previously worked at the Foreign Office, during his gap year.

He published a book, Twirlymen: The Unlikely History of Cricket’s Greatest Spin Bowlers, in 2011.

Rajan has appeared on television shows like Question Time, Newsnight, The Daily Politics, Lorraine, and The Andrew Marr Show. He has also written for publications such as The Spectator, GQ, New Statesman, and Politico Europe.

Rajan was born in Calcutta, India, and his family moved to London when he was three years old. They lived in Chiswick and Hendon before settling in Tooting.

The journalist is a fan of cricket, and he played for Sinjuns in Wandsworth, eventually becoming the youngest captain of the Men’s Sunday 1st team when he was 18.

He studied English at Downing College at the University of Cambridge, where he was the editor of Varsity, the student newspaper.

What has he said about joining University Challenge?

When announcing his new role as host of University Challenge, Rajan said: "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."

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."