WITH a few friendly barks of “Come on, let’s have it!”, Jeremy Paxman has presented his final University Challenge, ending his reign as the longest-serving current quizmaster on British TV.

The 73-year-old, who revealed in 2021 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, has hosted the quiz since 1994.

University Challenge will return this summer when Amol Rajan of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme takes over as host.

The BBC recently released first look images of the modernised set. There will be a new title sequence, but the famous music and voice of Roger Tilling remain.

In Monday night’s final the University of Durham took on the University of Bristol in a battle to become the 2022-23 champions.

Durham, whose captain Alex Radcliffe came from Edinburgh, took an early lead and never relinquished it, despite a late fightback from Bristol. The final score was 155 points for Durham and 120 for Bristol.

Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, presented the trophy to Durham. Chang said she had been a fan of University Challenge since arriving in the UK from China in 1978.

Praising the students’ performance, Paxman said: “It’s amazing what they know, isn’t it?”

There were commiserations to Bristol. “To go out in the final is fine, it’s absolutely fine,” he told the team.

All eyes were on Paxman to see if he had any parting words. But there was only a slightly modified farewell, leaving out the usual cheerios from the teams.

“University Challenge returns later in the year and I look forward to watching it with you,” said Paxman. “So it’s goodnight from me. Goodnight.”

During his time in the quizmaster's chair, Paxman became famed for his combative style, which saw him clash with a number of contestants during his 29 years at the helm.

Born in Leeds, Paxman started his career in 1972 on the BBC’s graduate trainee programme, working in local radio and reporting from Belfast.

Shortly after moving to London in 1977, he transferred from Tonight to Panorama, before stints on the Six O’Clock News and BBC One’s Breakfast Time.

He became a presenter of Newsnight in 1989, a position he would hold until June 2014.

He succeeded Bamber Gascoigne as the host of University Challenge.