Bamber Gascoigne, the original host of BBC’s University Challenge, has died aged 87

Bamber Gascoigne, the original host of BBC’s University Challenge, has died aged 87.


BAMBER GASCOIGNE, the original host of BBC’s University Challenge, has died aged 87, according to his representatives. The TV host passed away at his home in Richmond, southwest London following a short illness.
The University Challenge quizmaster, who was the originator of catchphrases such as “your starter for 10”, hosted the hit BBC show for 25 years from 1962 to 1987 before it was rebooted in 1994 with current host Jeremy Paxman.
Gascoigne, who was noted to have a firm yet polite question manner, also came up with the phrases “fingers on buzzers” and “I’ll have to hurry you.” In 1984, he was famously parodied by Griff Rhys-Jones on the alternative comedy series The Young Ones, in an episode entitled ‘Bambi’.
Gascoigne was also known as a writer and wrote Quest for the Golden Hare, a 1983 account of the internationally publicised treasure hunt associated with the publication in 1979 of Kit Williams’ book, Masquerade.
According to reports, on August 8, 1979, Gascoigne was witness to the burial by Williams of a unique jewelled, solid gold hare pendant in an earthenware jar “somewhere in Britain”. The book documents the search and a scandal associated with finding it.
In June 2018, Gascoigne was appointed CBE for services to the arts.
Many people have paid tribute to the former quiz host with comments flooding social media.
One user of Twitter wrote: “Sad to hear of the passing of Bamber Gascoigne, to Me always remembered his connection to the Masquerade Book, as a Child nearly every Sunday dragged out by My Dad to look for the buried Golden Hare.”
Mary Evans Picture Library wrote: “We are very sorry to hear that writer, presenter & University Challenge quizmaster Bamber Gascoigne, an old friend of Mary Evans Picture Library, has died at the age of 87.”


Very sad to hear of the passing of Bamber Gascoigne. A legendary quizmaster from another time,” another user said.

The Chase quizzer Paul Sinha wrote: “It seems that Bamber Gascoigne has passed away.

“His 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.”


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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