BBC University Challenge fans baffled by 'bizarre' finale as they makes feelings clear on Amol Rajan debut

BBC University Challenge fans baffled by 'bizarre' finale as they makes feelings clear on Amol Rajan debut

WATCH HERE: University Challenge contestants leave host Amol Ragan staggered with Brexit answer earlier in the series

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 09/04/2024

- 10:44

The latest series of University Challenge drew to a close on Monday

University Challenge viewers were left scratching their heads on Monday night just moments after Amol Rajan crowned Imperial College this season's winners.

Imperial ousted UCL in a high-scoring finale, bagging the record of winning the show more times than any other institution.

Rajan presented the trophy to Imperial's captain Haddad after her team's 285-120 victory to applause from the BBC studio audience and UCL's team members.

But before the episode drew to a close, the cameras transported viewers to the rooftop of Imperial College itself in Central London where Rajan was joined by the two teams.

Rajan explained the change of scenery: "Well, to give special congratulations to Imperial on an historic fifth series win, we've come to Imperial itself here in Central London with the Royal Albert Hall just behind us and all the sounds and sirens you'd expect from a London rooftop.

"We're going to be joined by one of Britain's foremost playwrights," he teased before reeling off a long list of impressive credentials.

University Challenge finale

University Challenge finale: Amol Rajan gathered the two teams on the roof of Imperial College


Before long, playwright Sir Tom Stoppard appeared to applause from the contestants and stopped for a chat with Rajan.

"The reason we asked you to come along - you've been very, very generous with your time - and word reached us that you're a fan of this show, is that right?" Rajan said to which Stoppard replied: "Very much so yes, it certainly is right. It's the only show I make a rendezvous with generally speaking."

Stoppard went on to praise the standard set by contestants each year as well as reflecting on his own education and how he "regrets" the decision not to attend university.

Rajan then introduced Stoppard to each contestant individually and signed off the show - without any form of award-giving or other pomp and ceremony.

Amol Rajan:

Amol Rajan: The 40-year-old took on hosting duties at the start of this series


Soon after, social media was awash with confused fans who shared their verdict on Stoppard's cameo appearance, including one fan who commented: "The conclusion of the #UniversityChallenge final was a bit bizarre.

"I assume Tom Stoppard wouldn’t travel to the studio on recording day, but why not get him to hand over the trophy on the roof of Imperial? But incredible knowledge from both teams. Enjoyable series."

A second similarly critiqued: "It would have been ridiculous enough to get Tom Stoppard on to a roof just to re-present the trophy, but it seems even more so to get Tom Stoppard on to a roof and *not* have him do it... #UniversityChallenge."

"#UniversityChallenge Not quite sure of the relevance of meeting on a roof top....strange to say the least," a third added before a fourth queried: "What are they on a roof with Tom Stoppard? #UniversityChallenge."

BBC University Challenge:

BBC University Challenge: Amol Rajan's debut series ending left fans confused


"Why did all the contestants meet Tom Stoppard at the end? He didn’t present or give a speech. Seems a bit random #UniversityChallenge," another said while a sixth asked: "Nothing against the man, but what was actually the point of that Tom Stoppard appearance? #UniversityChallenge."

Despite Stoppard's appearance sparking debate online, several others were quick to praise Imperial on their victory as well as share their thoughts on Rajan's debut series as a presenter.

And University Challenge fans were full of praise for the 40-year-old's debut stint in the hot seat, with one user typing on X: "Brilliant series of #UniversityChallenge. Imperial were superb and worthy champions. Fun relaxed atmosphere created by @amolrajan’s rapport with the teams. Good to see Tom Stoppard at the end too."

A second similarly applauded: "What a great series and finale. You have been the perfect host Amol, warm and encouraging. We'll miss our Monday evening University Challenge." (sic)

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