BBC poses Paxman question

The BBC is to research viewers' attitudes to its interviewers' technique as part of a new set of ``performance promises'' disclosed by the corporation yesterday.

The research, which will take place over the next six months, will try to find out whether viewers believe interviewers like Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman or Today's John Humphrys are too aggressive with politicians or not aggressive enough.

Sir Christopher Bland, chairman of the BBC governors, said: "It's an area where we would like some guidance from our viewers. If the whole style of BBC interviewing is endorsed by the process, then that's fine.'' He denied that the research meant the BBC was going to be managed by focus groups.

Politicians have clashed with BBC interviewers repeatedly, but Sir Christopher denied the research was in response to politicians' concerns.

The BBC's Statement of Promises document can be ordered on 0990 118811.