National & International University

Bamber Gascoigne, former University Challenge presenter, dies at 87

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Former University Challenge presenter and author Bamber Gascoigne has died at the age of 87, according to the BBC.

Gascoigne was the original presenter of the TV quiz show from 1962 to 1987. He also presented TV documentaries and wrote several books.

His wife Christina said he was “an incredibly generous man and everything he did was pointed towards sharing the gifts of his own life with others”.

Stephen Fry led the tributes, saying he was “such an elegant, intelligent man”.

Fry, who took part in University Challenge in 1980, wrote on Twitter: “Oh no, not Bamber. He was so kind and warm to us students who sat nervously at those desks.”

Gascoigne, who died after a short illness, became best known for his famous University Challenge catchphrases such as “Fingers on buzzers”, “Your starter for 10”, and “I’ll have to hurry you”.

Paul Sinha, star of ITV’s quiz show The Chase, tweeted: “[Gascoigne’s] effortless erudition, making whole swathes of impenetrable knowledge seem cheerfully accessible, was totally inspiring to this kid of the 80s. Sadly we may never see his like on our screens again.”

Former University Challenge contestant Bobby Seagull wrote: “Farewell Bamber Gascoigne… He set the tone for one of the best UK TV quiz shows. Scholarly, gentle and yet commanding, he joins the pantheon of great gameshow hosts. We shall miss you. RIP Bamber.”

Only Connect presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell said: “No quiz host has ever seemed more like they could answer all the questions themselves.”

University Challenge aired on ITV for 25 years before being revived on the BBC in 1994 with Jeremy Paxman as the quiz master.

Gascoigne also found cult fame after an episode of anarchic sitcom The Young Ones was named after him – titled Bambi – in 1984.

Image source: BBC News

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