Paxman accused of bullying University Challenge contestant – Daily TV round-up

Quiz host rebuked student after he got answer wrong

Jeremy Paxman has been branded 'a bully' after he ridiculed a nervous contestant for getting an answer wrong on 'University Challenge'.

Tom Tsyzczuk Smith buzzed in to answer the question posed by Paxman: “'The liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain.' Which royal figure made that claim when he landed at Brixham, in Devon, in 1688?”

[Related story: Paxman calling Bible's Genesis 'hogwash' ruled offensive]

Paxman... accused of bullying University Challenge contestant (Copyright: BBC)

He gave the answer William I, but was given a dressing down by Paxman who looked incredulous at his attempt.

“No! William I? No I’m sorry that’s the wrong answer and you know it’s very wrong,” he said.

“It’s only out by about 600 years or so. Anyway no, it’s William of Orange of course, William III.”

Tsyzczuk Smith looked embarrassed, and kept his head down for the remainder of the show, though his team from UCL went on to win the contest, beating Bangor University.

44 people complained to the BBC over the rebuke, and several took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.

Prof Richard Barker wrote: “University challenge Paxman just bullied Smith from UCL, very clever but self effacing student. Absolutely out of order.”

However, Renata Tsyzczuk, the student's mother, has come out in support of Paxman.

“I think Paxman is always a little tough with the contestants. But I think it is all in good spirit. It is a challenge after all,” she said.

“I don’t think he’s a bully. Tom wanted to do well and perhaps that showed more when he got things wrong rather than right. I met Mr Paxman and found him very pleasant. Tom’s very clever and we are very proud.”

“University Challenge is a tense and fast-paced competition, and Jeremy Paxman’s acerbic remarks have long been part of the appeal. Viewers and contestants alike know what to expect from the host,” read a statement from the BBC [The Independent/Daily Mail]

Also in today's press

BBC drama 'The Hour' has been axed after two series. The show, about a 60s news programme, starred Dominic West, Romola Garai and Ben Wishaw. “We loved the show but have to make hard choices to bring new shows through,” said a spokesperson for the BBC. [Metro]

'The Thick of It' star Peter Capaldi is to play Leonardo da Vinci in a dramatised documentary of the Italian genius based on his journals for Sky Arts. [Digital Spy]

Denise Welch's fiancé Lincoln Townley has been rushed to hospital following a suspected heart attack after collapsing with chest pains at their home. [Daily Mirror]