Amol rajan

Amol Rajan is right to change his ways on ‘aitch’

My husband thought it brave and manly of the BBC’s Amol Rajan to resolve publicly to change his pronunciation of the letter-name aitch. He’d said haitch all his life, but declared in a blog: ‘Dear reader, I’m here to tell you: it’s aitch.’ This attracted wide attention. He also announced that biopic is pronounced bio-pic, not bi-opic. That is true too, but attracted little attention. Amol Rajan is 40 and took an English degree at Cambridge, but has only just caught up with the eighth letter in the alphabet. Still, we all have blind spots. The key to the mispronunciation haitch is hypercorrection. Children were so often told to pronounce

University Challenge deserves Amol Rajan

I wish I could say that Bamber Gascoigne would be turning in his grave at what has happened to University Challenge. But unfortunately, I understand from people who knew the Eton, Cambridge, Yale and Grenadier Guards historian, playwright, critic, polymath millionaire and scion of the upper classes that he chose to compensate for his privilege by embracing progressive causes. So, chances are, the shade of Bamber is thrilled to bits at seeing his old quizmaster’s seat occupied by someone who drops his aitches and pronounces ‘h’ where it should be aspirated and landed a mere 2.2 from hearty, insufficiently medieval Downing. Bambi’s successor Jeremy Paxman probably isn’t too bothered either.

Amol Rajan’s University Challenge disaster

Congratulations to Amol Rajan, who adds the mantle of University Challenge host to his burgeoning portfolio of BBC jobs. Rajan will succeed Jeremy Paxman in the role when the latter steps down this autumn after 28 years hosting the show. On current trends, Mr S estimates the former Independent editor will have held every top job in the British media by the year 2024… Already there have been fears as to how well the new appointee can fill Paxo’s formidable shoes though. Kate Phillips, the BBC’s director of unscripted insisted that ‘If future student contestants think they’ll get an easier ride with Amol taking over, they can think again.’ We

The heroism of Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s readiness to walk away from tennis on a point of principle is an act of sporting heroism on a par with Muhammad Ali’s refusal to fight in the Vietnam war. Like Ali was when he said he had ‘no quarrel with them Viet Cong’, Djokovic is widely accepted to be the greatest master of his sport of all time. Ali, then at the height of his powers, was banned from boxing for three years for his stance. For refusing to take a Covid vaccination — a matter of conscience — we don’t yet know for how long Djokovic will be prevented from playing tennis at the highest level.