Top publicist Max Clifford caused quite the social-media stir on Wednesday's Newsnight. Not by making controversial comments about the press post-Leveson, but by wearing shorts and sandals in the studio.
"Has Max Clifford come straight from a barbecue?" tweeted BBC newsreader Corrie Corfield. "Max Clifford presumably annoyed they wouldn't let him bring his pina colada into the Newsnight studio," quipped Times columnist Caitlin Moran.
But this was no calculated PR stunt. Speaking to The Independent yesterday, Clifford revealed: "I live in shorts. I wear shorts 12 months of the year. Unless it's bitterly cold, I'll be wearing shorts. Anybody that knows me around the Weybridge area will see me in shorts 90 per cent of the time. I must have 50 different pairs." As for the sandals: "They're Italian. I get them from a little shop in New Bond Street, around the corner from my office."
Television news viewers are accustomed to seeing Clifford filmed from the waist up, hence the shock of his below-the-belt attire. But he has no ideological objection to smart outfits, on other current affairs pundits or himself. "I've done Newsnight many times in a jacket and trousers," he said. "I hope I didn't put any of the viewers off their dinner."