Jeremy Paxman hosts leaders' debate: Remembering the time he once complained to the M&S CEO about the elastic in his underwear

The acerbic broadcaster expressed 'anxiety' over the adequacy of his gussets

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Move over Clarkson, it’s time for the other acerbic Jeremy formally employed by the BBC to take centre stage.

Enter Paxman, the indomitable sometime Newsnight presenter who is set to host Cameron and Miliband: The Battle for Number 10 as part of Channel 4’s election special at 9pm.

He made his name grilling cabinet ministers using his forcefully opinionated interview technique and quick wit. Though just how impartial he is (he was recently approached by the Torys to stand as an MP and lists David Cameron among his all-time favourite interviewees), and therefore suited to such a role, remains a subject of some debate.

But whatever you think of Jeremy, remember he’s a human being with sartorial needs just like you. And that he's the very same man who once wrote to Sir Stuart Rose, the chief executive of M&S, to complain about the inadequacy of the elastic in his underwear.

“Like very large numbers of men in this country, I have always bought my socks and pants at Marks & Sparks,” he wrote in 2008.


“I've noticed that something very troubling has happened. There's no other way to put this. Their pants no longer provide adequate support. When I've discussed this with friends and acquaintances it has revealed widespread gusset anxiety. I do feel that someone should take up this mighty battle.

“The other thing is socks. Even among those of us who clip our toenails rigorously, they appear to be wearing out much more quickly on the big toe. Also, they're no longer ribbed around the top, which means they do not stay up in the way that they used to.

“These are matters of great concern to the men of Britain. I just felt it was time that somebody raised this with the only man who can sort it out, Stuart Rose.”

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the time, Paxman confirmed he had emailed Sir Stuart but said he had expected the exchange to remain private.

“Anyway, Stuart Rose took this very good humouredly and very kindly replied, inviting me to lunch and promising to bring various pairs of pants with him,” he said.

So think of that when he’s giving Miliband the death stare this evening.