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Nov 21, 2013 06:49 AM EST

Jeremy Paxman of 'University Challenge' Bears Brunt of Public Censure After Giving Students Wrong Answers

Jeremy Paxman
(Photo : Reuters) Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman, the host of University Challenge, the famous quiz show experienced some embarrassing moments on Monday night's episode when he corrected contestants with wrong answers on the BBC2 show. Usually known for being harsh on students who fall short of standards, he had to bear the brunt of some public censure.

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The quizmaster made the gaffe when students from Clare College, Cambridge, were asked to name the Czech composer of a piece of music played to them during a bonus question round. When the contestants guessed it as Smetana, Paxman quickly corrected them saying it was Antonín Dvorak's Requiem in B flat minor.

Soon, music experts pointed out on Twitter that the piece played was a Gregorian plainchant, a medieval church music, not a Dvorak composition.

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"."

While Damian Farrell tweeted: "Err-was there a mistake with the music question about Dvorak's requiem on #universitychallenge," Express reports.

However, the show's crew later apologized for the blunder.

"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," a University Challenge spokeswoman said.

"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."

The presenter made the second blunder when Clare College was asked to spot the missing sister from Jane Austen's novel 'Pride and Prejudice'. The team replied 'Eliza Bennet' but Paxman deemed the answer incorrect and passed the question to their rivals, Christ Church Oxford, whose answer 'Elizabeth Bennet' was accepted.

Viewers claimed that Austen refers to Elizabeth Bennet as 'Eliza' throughout the book.

"I remain unsure how Christ Church got to answer the Austen bonuses. On the starter question, Clare identified "Eliza Bennet" as the missing sister. And lo and behold, 22 times in P&P that sister is referred to as "Eliza,'" Pat Shed, one of the viewer said, Daily Mail UK reports.

"I was a bit surprised that Paxo didn't accept Eliza as correct," another viewer said.

Despite the wrong answers, Clare College still went on to beat Christ Church Oxford by just 10 points to secure a spot in the University Challenge quarter-finals.


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