Jeremy Paxman on retirement: I plan on a PhD in Renaissance art and join a choir

Jeremy Paxman said that after his retirement from University Challenge he plans to do a PhD in understanding Renaissance art, join a choir and finish his wine appreciation course.

The 72-year-old former Newsnight presenter announced earlier this year that he would step down as presenter of the BBC’s Q&A show after 29 years in the role.

He will be replaced by Amol Rajan, BBC media editor and host of Radio 4’s Today programme.


Amol Rajan, BBC media editor and presenter of Radio 4’s Today show (Matt Crossick/PA)

Paxman wrote in Saga Magazine, where he is a columnist, that he has now finished his last few episodes of University Challenge, which is pre-recorded.

He wrote: “For these recordings we were entertaining the graduates…although we made a great deal of their anxiety, the collection of newspaper columnists, comedians, and people doing appropriate jobs as professors of this or that were, without exception, delighted to be in attendance. a studio in Salford lashed by rain.

“It was a real pleasure meeting you. We used to ask the easier questions for the old folks, but this time they mostly seemed as complicated as the ones we were asking the students.”

He writes: “So this is it: retirement in all its many facets of delight and terror. What are you going to do with all your free time?


University Challenge host Jeremy Paxman with the University of Manchester team (left to right) David Brice, Adam Barr, Richard Gilbert (captain) and Deborah Brown (BBC/PA)

Paxman added that he was “lucky not to be in a mine” and hoped to keep his Saga column.

He also wrote: “I have also been lucky enough to gradually wear out some of my other commitments, having abandoned the daily grind of trying to make sense of the latest bullshit passing through government several years ago.

“I plan to join a choir, do a postgraduate degree in understanding Renaissance art, and finally finish the wine appreciation course I started a year ago. It may even give the drawing another blow.”

The full column can be found in the December issue of Saga Magazine now.

The latest series of University Challenge is still broadcast on Mondays on BBC Two.

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