Bamber Gascoigne

Bamber Gascoigne

Infobox Person
name = Bamber Gascoigne

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birth_date = birth date and age|1935|1|24|df=y
birth_place = London, England, UK
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nationality = British
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known_for = University Challenge
education = Eton College, Magdalene College, Cambridge, Yale University
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occupation = Television presenter and Author
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website = [ History World]
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Bamber Gascoigne (born 24 January 1935 in London) is a British television presenter and author.


Bamber Gascoigne won scholarships to both Eton College and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he studied English Literature. He then spent a year as a Commonwealth Fund Scholar at Yale University (1958-59). After National Service in the Grenadier Guards he became a theatre critic.

He came to fame as the presenter of the popular television quiz show, "University Challenge", in 1962, based on the US series "College Bowl". Although he has written several books, mostly on history, and presented other television programmes, his name is permanently connected with "University Challenge" in the minds of many people - despite the fact that, since 1994, the show has been presented by Jeremy Paxman.

In the programme's early days, Gascoigne set all the questions himself. His style of presentation is often held up as an example of excellence. His questioning was firm yet polite, and his judgment scrupulously fair. Phrases he often used which became catchphrases include: "Your starter for ten" and "I'll have to hurry you".

He returned in 1998 to present the "Red Dwarf" special "Universe Challenge" (a position he acquired by blowing up Jeremy Paxman, who was played by Chris Barrie, with a bazookoid, a weapon from the series), a contest between the actors of the show and a set of fans; the fans won by a narrow margin.

In 1977, Granada Television broadcast on ITV "The Christians", a 13 x 1 hour television documentary series on the history of Christianity, written and presented by Gascoigne. He and his wife Christina, a photographer, simultaneously published a book with the same title, telling the story in printed form.

In 1987, Gascoigne presented a documentary series of 6 x 30 minute progarmmes on Victorian history, "Victorian Values", which looked at how Victorian society put in place the infrastructure of the modern welfare state, also produced by Granda Television.

In recent years he has devoted much of his time in establishing an online history encyclopaedia called "History World" [] .

In the early hours of Wednesday 8 August 1979 Gascoigne was witness to the burial by Kit Williams, the author of "Masquerade", of a valuable golden hare in an earthenware jar "somewhere in Britain". The treasure hunt which followed was pursued worldwide and chronicled in the book "Quest for the Golden Hare".

In the "Young Ones" episode "Bambi" he is parodied by Griff Rhys Jones as "Bambi Gascoigne" (with considerable emphasis being placed on the resemblance of his name to the Disney character). He was also portrayed by actor Mark Gatiss in the film "Starter for 10" (2006).

His name appears in one version of the Monty Python "Lumberjack Song" when Michael Palin sings of the "Quercus maximus Bamber Gascoigneii", and in the Python song "I Like Traffic Lights" the singer points out that his name is not Bamber.

Bamber Gascoigne is also an authority on the history and techniques of printmaking and graphic reproduction, with publications such as "Milestones in Colour Printing" and "How to Identify Prints"Fact|date=May 2008.

His latest project is [ TimeSearch] which presents a number of timelines. [Start the Week, BBC Radio 4, 12 March 2007]

elect bibliography

*Bamber Gascoigne, "How to Identify Prints: A Complete Guide to Manual and Mechanical Processes from Woodcut to Inkjet" ( ISBN 0-500-28480-6 )
*Bamber Gascoigne, "A Brief History of Christianity" ( ISBN 1-84119-710-6 )
*Bamber Gascoigne, "A Brief History of the Dynasties of China" ( ISBN 1-84119-791-2 )
*Bamber Gascoigne, "Quest for the Golden Hare", Jonathan Cape, 1983 ( ISBN 0-224-02116-8 )
*Bamber Gascoigne, "Cod Streuth", Jonathan Cape, 1986 ( ISBN 0-224-02388-8 )
*Bamber Gascoigne, "Encyclopaedia of Britain", Macmillan, 1993 ( ISBN 0-333-54764-0 )

list = "University Challenge" host
prev = First host
next = Jeremy Paxman


External links

* [ History world website] – see [ About us]
* [ Magdalene College alumni entry]

NAME=Gascoigne, Bamber
SHORT DESCRIPTION= English television presenter
DATE OF BIRTH= 1935-01-24
PLACE OF BIRTH= London, England

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