University Challenged

Jeremy Paxman has admitted that he failed to make it into his college’s University Challenge team while a student, despite now hosting the show.

alex guttenplan ann widdecombe Cambridge jeremy paxman Oxford st catherine st. catz university challenge

University Challenge presenter Jeremy Paxman has admitted he never made it into his college’s team, although he has hosted the show for the last 17 years.

In an interview with Radio Times, the 61-year-old host of Newsnight and University Challenge, said that, in spite of his best efforts, he never qualified for the St Catz’ team while studying English there.

“I did have a go”, Paxman said, “I didn’t get chosen!

There was a quiz going on one night to choose a team for University Challenge. I remember going along with a couple of friends, sitting in the common room and failing to answer questions, therefore failing to get selected for the team.”

Paxo, known for his persistent and aggressive interview style, has hosted University Challenge since 1994.

Paxo as the quiz master

The news of his failure will come as no surprise to Alex Guttenplan, Emma’s quiz show genius who last year dominated the show. In an interview with The Tab, Guttenplan revealed that despite his know-it-all attitude, Paxo regularly mispronounces words and has to do retakes at the end of filming.

But Paxman isn’t fazed by his failure to make the cut. He said that the show: “doesn’t reflect at all on your general knowledge or your mental ability. It is a very particular thing, playing a quiz.”

Aside from making the surprise revelation, Paxo also criticized those who have complained about the domination of Oxbridge graduates in the Cabinet and shadow cabinet.

He said: “The question about Oxford and Cambridge being somehow a bad things is absolute tripe… a lot of political claptrap is talked on the subject by people who, frankly, don’t know anything.”

In the same interview, Strictly Come Dancing star and former Tory MP Ann Widdecome also admitted failing to make her college’s team during her time at The Other Place.