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December 13, 2022updated 14 Dec 2022 9:21am

Katie Razzall takes on BBC media editor role after Amol Rajan steps down

By Charlotte Tobitt

Update 13 December 2022: BBC News culture editor Katie Razzall has been promoted to culture and media editor to replace Rajan in the role.

Razzall, who is starting the new role immediately, said she has “big shoes to fill”.

Director of news content Richard Burgess said in a memo to staff he knew Razzall will “continue to bring her flair for original storytelling, expert reporting and skilful interviewing to the job.

“I want to convey my thanks to Amol for his boundless energy, breaking of big stories and bold analysis during his time as media editor, which will no doubt continue as he presents Today.”

Razzall first joined the BBC in 2014 and has held roles including special correspondent and UK Editor at Newsnight. She was appointed culture editor last year.

Original story 18 August 2022: Amol Rajan is stepping down from the role of BBC News media editor to host BBC Two’s University Challenge.

Rajan will, however, continue to present on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and his series Amol Rajan Interviews.

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Rajan was appointed the first BBC News media editor in 2016 after leaving The Independent, where he had been editor and then editor-at-large when it went digital-only. His brief included mergers, digital advances and media trends and he will continue in the role until later this year.

He succeeds ex-Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman who hosted University Challenge for 28 years.

Rajan said: “Being asked to host my favourite TV programme is dream-come-true territory. I have watched University Challenge obsessively for years, addicted to its high standards, glorious title music and inspirational contestants.

“It’s the best possible antidote to cynicism about young people, allowing millions of us to test our wits against the best minds of a new generation, and annoy and impress our families by barking answers from the sofa.

“I am very conscious that in the late, great Bamber [Gascoigne], and that giant of British culture, Jeremy, I have vast shoes to fill. With his immense intellect, authority, and respect from students and viewers alike, Jeremy hands over a format, and show, as strong as ever.”

Rajan will begin filming for University Challenge early next year and appear on TV screens from next autumn.

Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted, said: “Jeremy leaves a very big chair to fill but Amol’s experience, expertise and sense of humour makes him the perfect fit for one of Britain’s longest-running and toughest quiz shows. If future student contestants think they’ll get an easier ride with Amol taking over, they can think again.”

Rajan began hosting The Media Show in May 2017 as part of his media editor role following the death of long-term host Steve Hewlett, but stepped down last year after beginning to present Today. The Media Show has recently been hosted by culture editor Katie Razzall, analysis editor Ros Atkins and a number of other guest presenters.

Two days before Rajan’s appointment at University Challenge was announced, BBC Front Row and Newswatch presenter Samira Ahmed tweeted that she had approached University Challenge bosses about the role months ago.

She wrote: “I’ve had an amazing time rehearsing and being a standby presenter for it this year. I’ve loved working with the fab team who seem to love me and just narrated a [University Challenge] documentary that’s going out on BBC2.

“And I’ve loved helping set a few questions for this series too. But no one from the BBC has spoken to me yet about taking over. I’ve always been happy to go through an honest, fair process and be judged on my merits. I still am.”

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