BBC sparks outrage as 'unwatchable' University Challenge revamp branded 'disaster' after Paxman exit

Amol Rajan hosts University Challenge

Amol Rajan's University Challenge debut has divided BBC viewers

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 18/07/2023

- 12:33

Updated: 18/07/2023

- 16:18

Jeremy Paxman announced his exit from the long-running BBC quiz show earlier this year after almost 20 years in the hot-seat

University Challenge returned to BBC Two on Monday evening to pit two new teams of students against each other.

However, this time around, the BBC classic had undergone quite the makeover following Jeremy Paxman's decision to step down as host.

Taking the reins was Amol Rajan, a familiar face on the BBC thanks to stints on The One Show and Amol Rajan Interviews series.

And his presence wasn't the only shake-up as the University Challenge set design had shifted to include an eye-popping neon turquoise trim as well as other striking alterations.

Amol's debut episode was therefore met with a number of disgruntled viewers who'd grown to love the long-running quiz format and its signature look on-screen.

University Challenge season 30 premiere

Amol Rajan welcomes the teams for the University Challenge season 30 opener


In fact, following the episode, several viewers made their opinions on the revamp known, with some accusing the BBC of "ruining" the classic show.

Taking to Twitter one fan vented their fury as they penned: "What an unwatchable disaster.

"Nothing new to bbc tv these days. #UniversityChallenge #goWokeLoseAudience."

While another fan echoed: "Well done BBC, Ruined what should have been a good programme.

"Bring back the old set, get rid of that computer, (and the bling !) And let's have proper interaction between AR and the teams. And tell him not to gallop through the questions please! #UniversityChallenge."

Elsewhere, one viewer wasn't won over by Jeremy's replacement as they pointed out: "New presenter Amol Rajan speaks too quickly, mumbles. Also he does not look at the contestants as he is reading off a computer screen. The question cards are essential. #UniversityChallenge."

And a fourth unhappy watcher raged: "#UniversityChallenge @bbc What the hell have you done? The new guy has zero gravitas. He has zero profile. What a ridiculous choice. You've got the highly worthy & highly creditable @CliveMyrieBBC on #Mastermind but this is just b******t." (sic)

Despite the fury from some sections of the BBC Two audience, plenty rushed to defend Amol after his debut.

Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman stepped down as University Challenge host earlier this year


This included a Twitter user who wrote: "Well done Amol! Very impressive. Very encouraging. Phew. #UniversityChallenge."

Amol himself decided to focus on the positive reactions rather than the criticism aimed his way.

He took to his own Twitter to thank fans and tweeted: "Thanks so much for all the kind, thoughtful or constructive feedback about my first episode of #UniversityChallenge.

"I really appreciate it, and will discuss with the team."

Amol will remain in the presenter's chair for the rest of season 30 following Jeremy's departure.

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