A first image of the new look University Challenge has been released, showing the set at dock10 in Salford, alongside stills from the title sequence for the Lifted Entertainment North show with its new host Amol Rajan, as recording gets underway for the programme’s 61st year.

The set has been modernised, replacing the previous set which was in place from 2013 and saw 1,736 contestants compete. Among those were the alumni who competed in the Christmas series, including Amol Rajan who appeared as a contestant in 2020. In addition, the previous set saw celebrity specials in support of Comic Relief and Children in Need.

To go with the new set, the series has a new titles sequence which will be revealed when the show returns this summer.

Amol Rajan, who follows Jeremy Paxman as host, says: “I have spent years re-arranging Monday nights around the need to be in front of my television at 20.30. University Challenge really is my favourite programme. And from their feedback and sheer numbers, our treasured audience has made very clear I am far from alone.

“Perhaps that’s no surprise given this is Britain’s longest running TV quiz, in a nation of quiz lovers. While there is a new a set and presenter, everything else remains: the perfect title music; the peerless voice of Roger Tilling; the fiendish questions; and above all the remarkable students, some of whom come this year from universities competing for the first time.

“What we’ve seen so far includes moments of huge tension, flashes of genius, and brilliant starters and bonuses that will have viewers joining in and shouting at their screens.”

BBC Commissioning Editor for Entertainment and Comedy, Pinki Chambers comments, “The competition is fierce, the questions are harder and Amol has taken to the programme in an instant. This is going to be one of our best series yet.”

Executive Producer Peter Gwyn says: “The Lifted Entertainment team are genuinely thrilled to be working with Amol Rajan, who will become only the third person to host University Challenge, a programme we’ve been producing here in the North West for over sixty years. We couldn’t be more proud or more excited to be part of a new era for this icon of British television.”

University Challenge will return to screens this summer. It is commissioned by Pinki Chambers, Commissioning Editor for Entertainment and Comedy for iPlayer and BBC Two. University Challenge is produced by Lifted Entertainment North, part of ITV Studios, and is produced in association with Richard Reid for the College Bowl Company. Series Producer for Lifted Entertainment is Clare Parody.

Images: Ric Lowe/Lifted Entertainment/ITV Studios/ stills from new title sequence

Pippa Considine

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