Jeremy Paxman accused of giving the WRONG answer on University Challenge


Quizmaster Jeremy Paxman was today accused of giving the wrong answer to a University Challenge question.

The smug presenter is known for his sneering put-downs of faltering students on the long-running BBC show.

But he fell short of his own high standards with the wrong answer during a music round on Monday night’s episode.

Clare College Cambridge were asked to name the Czech composer of a piece as one of their music bonus questions.

They wrongly guessed Smetana and Paxman quickly corrected them and said: “No, it’s Dvorak’s Requiem in B flat minor.”

But music experts took to Twitter to rightly state the music was actually a Gregorian plainsong and not the work of Dvorak.

Helen Garrison, a senior producer for the BBC Singers and Radio 3, tweeted: “Appalled at the ignorance of question on #universitychallenge. Identifying Requiem settings, “correct” answer to plainsong was “Dvorak”.”

Damian Farrell tweeted: “Err-was there a mistake with the music question about Dvorak’s requiem on #universitychallenge”

And Nick Edmonds wrote: “Did #universitychallenge just play a requiem plainsong and ask which composer it was by??”

He added: “some work to do on their musical knowledge.”

Despite the blunder Clare College went on to beat rivals Christ Church Oxford to land a place in the quarter finals of the TV quiz.

Plainsong, or plainchant, is a single line of melody with an unmeasured rhythm sung in religious services.

St Gregory the Great is said to have standardized it in the mid 18th century

A University Challenge spokeswoman said: “On this week’s programme we played an excerpt from Dvorak’s Requiem.

“We used several music sources which indicated that the entire piece was under Dvorak’s name.

“However we were wrong in this instance and the excerpt we played from this requiem was not composed by Dvorak himself.

“We apologise to both teams and viewers and are grateful to those who pointed this out.

“Fortunately this error has not changed the outcome of the programme.”


  1. Another error last night (06/01/14) regarding the resistance of a piece of wire when the radius was doubled. The student gave the correct answer, Paxman was wrong.


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