Jeremy Paxman has said after his retirement from University Challenge he has plans to do a PhD in understanding Renaissance art, join a choir and finish his wine appreciation course.

The former Newsnight presenter, 72, announced earlier this year he would step down as host of the BBC quiz show after 29 years in the role.

He will be replaced by Amol Rajan, the BBC's media editor and a presenter on Radio 4's Today programme.

Paxman wrote in Saga Magazine, where he is a columnist, that he has now finished his last episodes of University Challenge, which is pre-recorded.

He said, "For these recordings we were entertaining graduates...though we made much of their anxiety, the collection of newspaper columnists, stand-up comedians and people doing proper jobs as professors of this or that were, without exception, delighted to be in a studio in rainswept Salford.

"It was a real pleasure to meet them. We used to make the questions easier for the old codgers, but this time they mostly seemed as tricky as the ones we put to the students."

He added, "So this is it: retirement in all its many facets of pleasure and terror. What is to be done with all the free time?"

Paxman said he was "lucky not to be down a mine" and hoped to keep his Saga column.

He also wrote: "I have also been lucky in gradually running down some of my other commitments, having abandoned several years ago the daily grind of trying to make sense of the latest tomfoolery that passes for government.

"I plan to join a choir, to take a postgraduate degree in understanding Renaissance art and finally to finish the wine appreciation course that I began a year ago. I may even give drawing another bash."

The full column can be found in the December issue of Saga Magazine out now.

University Challenge's latest series is still being broadcast on Mondays on BBC Two.

Source: Press Association