Jeremy Paxman: University Challenge is harder than ever

As some viewers may have long suspected, the show is harder than ever quizmaster says - but it also gives lie to stereotypes about the feckless young

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Jeremy Paxman has revealed what many stumped viewers may have long suspected:  the questions on University Challenge are harder than they have ever been.

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“It’s quite hard and it will stay quite hard,” the show’s quizmaster tells this week’s Radio Times.

“In an age when you can win shedloads of money or fleeting glory by knowing the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s first name (even though that one did seem to stump President Obama), our producers have made the questions more difficult than they have ever been. They get harder the closer you get to the final, but even the first-round questions are testing enough.

“The questions in the quiz (right), prepared by our questions editor, Tom Benson, are a long way short of the toughest. There’s no reason you should know all the answers. You’d be remarkable if you did.”

Paxman added that the show also counteracted stereotypes about young people.

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 “The main reason I love University Challenge is that it gives the lie to the media stereotype about young people – that they all know nothing, and couldn’t care less. It’s complete rubbish. Every year we see more and more teams of young people  who know amazing things, and you’re just left wondering in pleasurable disbelief, “How on earth did they get that?”