Jeremy Paxman’s first signs of Parkinson’s as University Challenge host replaced

Jeremy Paxman says doctor spotted his parkinson's from quiz show

Paxman, 73, has been replaced by 40-year-old journalist Rajan, who was a contestant on the show back in 2020. His first time fronting the show was on Monday 17 July.

After being announced as his replacement in August last year, he said: “I am very conscious that in the late, great Bamber, and that giant of British culture, Jeremy, I have vast shoes to fill.”

Paxman first revealed he was receiving treatment for Parkinson’s in May 2021. At the time, he described his symptoms as “mild”.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

The NHS lists the main symptoms as involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body, slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles.

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In October 2022, an ITV documentary, Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s revealed how the condition has impacted him.

He explained he was diagnosed after he fell over and doctors noted he had the signs of ‘Parkinson’s mask’.

Parkinson’s mask, or facial masking, is when the condition impacts the use of facial muscles.

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Parkinson’s nurse Linda, from the Parkinson’s UK helpline, explains: “If you have Parkinson’s, a lack of dopamine in the brain can stop your facial muscles working as well as they used to. This can limit the amount of facial expressions you have.

“When this happens, it can sometimes look like you have a blank expression, even if you are actually experiencing a strong emotion.

“The medical term is hypomimia, but it is often referred to as a Parkinson’s mask, or facial masking.”

According to Linda, Parkinson’s mask is a common symptom of the condition.

Parkinson’s disease can cause a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms.

The NHS says these can include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Balance problems (this may increase the chances of a fall)
  • Loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • Problems sleeping (insomnia)
  • Memory problems

If you are concerned you may have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, see a GP.

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