University Challenge viewers get distracted by host Jeremy Paxman’s lockdown hair

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

In the last three episodes of the show, which were filmed during the first 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.  

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

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

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

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

However, when the show returned from its six-month ‘hiatus’, perspex screens had been introduced between contestants and the academic quiz’s host, who’s been at the helm since 1994, was 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. 

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.

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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