Letter: Pleasant Paxman

Sir: As competitors in the current series of University Challenge, we were somewhat surprised by the widespread media coverage given to Mr Lance Haward, the 62-year-old member of the Open University's team.

We were particularly taken aback by the tone of his interview in The Independent, containing as it did much criticism of Mr Jeremy Paxman. Whilst Mr Paxman is noted by the media for his occasionally brusque manner, he was actually extremely pleasant towards all the contestants in the series, as were the entire production team. We feel that to compare Mr Paxman unfavourably with Bamber Gascoigne, a quizmaster with an entirely different style, is a gross discourtesy given all he did to put teams at their ease during filming.

Far from demonstrating "stumbling, hesitation and swearing", Mr Paxman exuded professionalism and erudition at all times.

To claim that he "seems to have met his match" in Lance Haward will have surprised all those who were present during filming.

DAVID STAINER

ROBERT DOUGANS

DAVID BREWIS

TOBY COX

Oriel College University Challenge team

Oxford

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