Jeremy Paxman jokes that the best way to deal with the elderly is to build more Dignitas clinics 'rather like Sweeney Todd's pie shops'

The former Newsnight presenter takes his scathing tongue to Edinburgh Fringe

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The Independent Online

Jeremy Paxman has turned to stand-up (of course) and the elderly have been selected as the brunt of his jokes.

Paxman – who is 64 – quipped to an Edinburgh Fringe audience that there are too many old people and all we need are more Dignitas clinics to help deal with them – “rather like Sweeney Todd pie shops”.

“The fact is there's just too many old people around so I would like to invite you all to join my crowdfunding project for a franchise of Dignitas clinics,” he joked. “There will be one on every High Street.

“They're going to be rather like Sweeney Todd's pie shops – they'll be disguised as tea shops. You'll take Auntie Doris there and drop her off and she will say, 'See you next Tuesday,' and you will say, 'Well ... possibly.'”

His one-man show, Paxo, previewed last week and makes its debut tonight (18 August). The former Newsnight presenter – who left the BBC show in June - nobly admitted that he is part of the “problem”, and also volunteered his grievances with the pension system.

“I share the prejudice despite almost being one myself. The problem with old people is they're bloody everywhere,“ he said.

"You can't get on a train or go to a country pub without bumping into them: folk who through no fault of their own believe the state owes them a living because they're under the sad illusion that they have paid into a pension fund all their working lives. And they haven't, because the way successive governments have comprehensively mismanaged the whole pension arrangements in this country – their pensions are being paid out of what you earn.”

However, not everyone found Paxman’s tongue-in-cheek view entertaining - Piers Morgan consequently branded him a “horrible little man” on Twitter.

Paxman’s show runs until 15 August.