Sandi Toksvig bookies’ favourite to replace Jeremy Paxman on University Challenge
The 72-year-old broadcaster announced on Tuesday he will retire from his long-standing presenting gig, a year after revealing his secret battle with Parkinson’s.
The BBC are set to announce his replacement later this week and several names are already being thrown into the hat as to who it could be.
But bookies are already drawing up favourites to take over his seat when he takes to the chair one final time – and there’s one clear winner for them.
So far, Toksvig is just 2/1 with the bookies to take over. The entertainer is no stranger to taking the helm of a show, having previously fronted Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off and The Great Big Tiny Design Challenge with Sandi Toksvig.
She is currently the host of comedy panel show, QI, on BBC alongside Alan Davies and Jo Brand.
Meanwhile, Richard Osman is second-favourite as things stand at 3/1 and Tenable host Warwick Davis just 6/1.
Giles Brandaeth, David Mitchell and Carol Vorderman have also been listed as potential stars to step into Paxman’s shoes as well as Countdown’s Susie Dent.
GBBO’s Sue Perkins is at 33/1 and Jimmy Carr at 40/1 while Piers Morgan is as likely to land the gig as Gemma Collins at 100/1, and Sky Sport’s favourite Chris Kamara is priced at 200/1.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “They’re big shoes to fill, but the odds suggest Jeremy Paxman’s job could soon be given to Sandi Toksvig, with Richard Osman unsurprisingly among the frontrunners.”
“However, it doesn’t look as though #GC4UC will take off, with the TOWIE star priced at an unlikely 100/1.”
Paxman has presented the quiz show since 1994 and will film his last episode in autumn, with his final series of the programme airing on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer from August 29 through to summer 2023.
The journalist 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.”
This year the popular BBC programme celebrates 60 years as Britain’s longest running quiz show.
Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of Unscripted, said: “Since the BBC revived University Challenge in 1994 Jeremy has been at the front and centre of the show’s success and is without doubt one of the world’s finest, and most formidable quizmasters.
“We are hugely grateful to Jeremy for his dedication to the programme for an incredible 28 years, he will be much missed by us all and the show’s millions of viewers.”
The programme’s new presenter will be announced later this week, the corporation said.
Paxman revealed in May 2021 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the world’s second most common neurodegenerative disorder, behind Alzheimer’s disease.
In a statement, he said that he planned to “continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me”.
He will discuss the impact of Parkinson’s disease on his life in a new 60-minute documentary entitled Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s, due to air on ITV later this year.