University Challenge viewers distracted by Paxman's lockdown hair

‘He looks like a Dulux dog!’ University Challenge viewers are distracted by host Jeremy Paxman’s ‘floppy wedge of white hair’ for the third week running after series was filmed during first UK lockdown

  • The 70-year-old host is currently sporting a curtain of white hair on the show 
  • Latest series of BBC2 quiz filmed during the first lockdown after six-month break
  • Viewers have been tweeting in droves about Paxman’s longer-haired look
  • One viewer quipped that with his horn-rimmed specs, he’s modelling himself on the poet Yeats, suggesting he looks like he’s ‘sailing to Byzantium’

It’s usually the brain-power of the students that shines bright on University Challenge but viewers tuning into the most recent episodes of the show can’t seem to get past host Jeremy Paxman’s fulsome hair.

In the last three episodes of the show, which were filmed during the first UK lockdown, the 70-year-old has sported a ‘flopped wedge of white hair’ – a sharp contrast to the former Newsnight star’s usual short back and sides. 

Like much of the nation during the spring, Paxman was clearly unable to get near a pair of scissors and as a result is currently seen presenting the show with ‘mesmerising’ locks.  

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The 70-year-old host is currently sporting a curtain of white hair on the show, which was filmed during the first lockdown. Paxman’s hair has captivated viewers of the BBC2 quiz

Away with the short back and sides! Paxman as he normally looks, without his horn-rimmed specs and longer hair

The last three weeks of the show, which is now in the second round, has seen Paxman’s hair inching longer every week

Viewers are now watching the episodes filmed when the show returned from its six-month ‘hiatus’ with perspex screens introduced between contestants and the academic quiz’s host, who’s been at the helm since 1994, looking rather more hirsute.  

Last night’s episode saw the first of the second-round matches with St Andrews University and Imperial College London battling it out for a place in the quarter-finals. St Andrews were thrashed 180 to 90.

For many though, the actual quiz was secondary to marvelling at Paxman’s hair, with one viewer offering to crowdfund a haircut ‘before Thursday’ when the latest lockdown begins in England.   

@scrambledpegg noted: ‘Jeremy paxman’s hair has me mesmerised.’  

@RichardLafette suggested: ‘Is Paxman modelling his new look on Yeats? The horn-rimmed, owl-like spectacles, the louche, flopped wedge of white hair? He looks full of years. Still sailing to Byzantium. Never quite arriving.’ 

@JimWoodburn_ was a fan: ‘Loving Paxman’s Lockdown hair’

@Strummer07 pondered: ‘Has Paxman used too much hair conditioner this week?’

@Littlecub647 asked: ‘Dear god … what ‘look’ is Jeremy Paxman going for with the hair?’ 

@GemmaCartwright wrote: ‘Paxman’s lockdown hair is very special, isn’t it?

Lockdown has certainly had an impact on the show. The set of University Challenge has remained largely unchanged since its first episode aired in the early Sixties.

However, since the pandemic introduced social distancing rules, perspex panels between contestants have been seen on screen, with new player microphones meaning conferring can be clearly heard by those watching at home. 

Caustic-tongued viewers wasted no time in quipping about the updated set, with one suggesting it now looked ‘like a pub quiz in a bureau de change’.

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