Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Armstrong slams Paxman's quiz style

Alexander Armstrong isn't a fan of 'smug' quiz show hosts

Alexander Armstrong has said he is not a fan of fellow quiz show host Jeremy Paxman - accusing the abrasive TV star of being smug.

Hit BBC One quiz show Pointless, which Alexander presents with towering sidekick Richard Osman, recently marked its 500th episode.

Alexander, 43, suggested that when it came to his role as a quiz show host he had not been inspired by University Challenge presenter Paxman, 63.

Asked what makes a good quiz master, he told the Radio Times: "I don't know if Jeremy Paxman genuinely does know all of the answers on University Challenge but he blimmin' acts like he does.

"That annoys me a bit because it's easy to be smug when you have the answers in front of you.

"I prefer a genial host like Richard Whiteley or Bob Holness," he said of the late Countdown and Blockbusters presenters.

In March, the BBC received 44 complaints after a 20-year-old contestant repeatedly apologised for answering a question wrong on the academic quiz show following "acerbic" remarks made by Paxman, whose bearded appearance on Newsnight recently made the headlines.

Alexander's co-star Richard said he could no longer enjoy a pub quiz thanks to Pointless, in which contestants have to come up with answers no one else can think of.

"I go to a couple in Chiswick near where I live, although people don't like it when I turn up because they presume I know everything," he said.

"And if I win, instead of congratulating me, they sneer and say things like, 'Oh, that's just typical'."

Meanwhile, QI panellist Alan Davies admitted to the Radio Times that things were not entirely as they appear on quiz shows.

He said of the tricks of the trade used to make quiz shows more entertaining: "I haven't been on Mock The Week, but I know that they prepare material and prepare jokes, Buzzcocks (Never Mind The Buzzcocks) have guests on who are comedians, so they can give them a few lines or a few thoughts, on Have I Got News For You I think you get to see the caption competition or the bits of video to give you a chance to think ahead.

"On QI, you get the questions, but they're incomprehensible!"

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