“He has the two essential qualities required for success"
Amol Rajan received a warm response following his first episode as host of University Challenge.
Rajan has become the third person in the show’s entirety to host the popular show. He follows in the footsteps of Bamber Gascoigne and Jeremy Paxman.
Whilst introducing the latest series, Rajan addressed the viewers by saying:
“A few things have changed since the last series, but all the important things remain the same.”
Following his debut, Amol Rajan was applauded by critics, being described as “cheerful, relaxed and seamless”.
His debut episode brought in 1.9 million viewers.
Sean O’Grady, of The Independent, was all praise for the new host. He said:
“He has the two essential qualities required for success as the chair of University Challenge.
“First, he looks like he’s genuinely enjoying himself just as much as the contestants, and indeed the show’s dedicated followers.
“Second, he has the demeanour of someone clever and knowledgeable (which he is), but doesn’t come across as a know-it-all (which he isn’t).”
Amol Rajan was also described as respectful and quietly spoken.
Giving the episode a whopping four stars, Anita Singh, of The Telegraph, commented:
“Rajan is a brasher presence than Jeremy Paxman – the bright tie and pocket square, the shiny gold watch and jewellery – and unsurprisingly, didn’t look remotely over-awed by the job.
“Besides, the format doesn’t allow any presenter to impose themselves too greatly, because they can’t do very much other than ask questions.”
Anita Singh went on to say that compared to Paxman, Rajan looked considerably smaller in stature.
“The opening episode began with the presenter behind his desk looking strangely tiny, as if we were watching Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
Mark Lawson, of The Guardian, was in agreement with the statement.
He wrote: “Paxo’s chair seems to have been kept which, given Rajan’s shorter stature, leaves a lot of leather headrest visible.
“A less steep seat might make him look more comfortable at the desk.”
Lawson also commended Rajan on his hosting skills.
“The presenter was well down on the speed-gun from his morning radio broadcasting, and up in precision.
“He has shown how seriously he takes the role by significantly adapting his presenting style to this new challenge.”
Rajan is recognised for presenting BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He was named University Challenge‘s new presenter after Jeremy Paxman stood down following his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.