After 28 years in the quizmaster chair, Jeremy Paxman today announced he is stepping down as University Challenge host.

The 72-year-old, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last year, has presented the show since it was revived by the BBC in 1994.

He will film his last episode this autumn and his final series will air on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from Monday August 29 through to summer 2023.

The journalist and broadcaster 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.”

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University challenge host replacement – betting odds

Former University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull, who shot to fame thanks to his fierce rivalry with Eric Monkman during a semi-final, told BBC Radio 4’s World At One he thinks former Pointless host Richard Osman or Scottish TV presenter Kirsty Wark could take over from Paxman.

You’ll have to wait to find out who will become the new presenter of the programme though with the BBC saying all will be revealed later this week.

Until then, we can only speculate who will be chosen to ask the teams of four students their “starter for 10” questions.

Bookies favourites for new University Challenge host

Bournemouth Echo: Fiona Bruce is the bookies' favourite to take over as University Challenge host. Picture: PAFiona Bruce is the bookies' favourite to take over as University Challenge host. Picture: PA

According to Betfair, Fiona Bruce is currently the 2/1 favourite to replace Paxman.

The 58-year-old journalist joined the BBC as a researcher on Panorama in 1989 and over the next 14 years rose to become the first female newsreader on the BBC’s flagship News At Ten.

She currently presents Question Time and Antiques Roadshow so may struggle to find time in her schedule.

Also in the running are TV presenter and author Richard Osman, journalist and quiz show Only Connect presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell and newsreader Clive Myrie, among others.

Betfair spokesperson, Sam Rosbottom, said: “Fiona Bruce is the 2/1 favourite to be the next University Challenge host after it was announced Jeremy Paxman will be stepping down after 28 years.

“Pointless co-presenter Richard Osman follows behind Bruce at 3/1, while Victoria Coren Mitchell is 7/2.

“Other contenders include Clive Myrie at 5/1, Professor Brian Cox, who is 6/1, and Victoria Derbyshire at 8/1.

“Elsewhere, outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson is 25/1 to succeed Paxman.”

Here are Betfair’s odds for the next University Challenge host:

  • Fiona Bruce: 2/1
  • Richard Osman: 3/1
  • Victoria Coren Mitchell: 7/2
  • Clive Myrie: 5/1
  • Professor Brian Cox: 6/1
  • Victoria Derbyshire: 8/1
  • Mishal Husain: 8/1
  • Richard Ayoade: 9/1
  • Dara O Briain: 9/1
  • June Sarpong: 12/1
  • Kirsty Wark: 12/1
  • Boris Johnson: 25/1

This is correct at the time of publication, however to ensure you get the latest odd, visit the Betfair website.