Jeremy Paxman shaves off beard after claiming it's 'so 2013'

Paxman makes a clean start to the year on Newsnight

Tonight's top story... Jeremy Paxman has shaved off his beard, claiming facial hair is "so 2013".

The Newsnight presenter returned to our screens clean shaven - exactly 147 days after he debuted his controversial beard.

Speaking to Radio Times before going on-air, he said: "If a chap can’t shave on holiday, what can he do? Beards are so 2013."

The 63-year-old presenter caused a media storm after he decided to give the razor a break last summer.

At the time, Mr Paxman accused the BBC of "pogonophobia"- a fear of beards.

Is the BBC pogonophobic? Jeremy Paxman's beard raises a hairy issue  

He said: "I have grown a beard for the last few summers, and suddenly wondered whether I really needed to shave it off to present Newsnight.

"Unless you're lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools And Horses, Demis Roussos or Abu Hamza, the BBC is generally as pogonophobic as the late-lamented Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha."

He later said: “For a glorious few days I have been a poster boy for a shadowy group called the Beard Liberation Front, which claims that facial hair invites discrimination.

“I’m finding it quite a heavy burden.”

The Beard Liberation Front, which campaigns in support of beards and opposes discrimination against those who wear them, lamented his decision to go clean-shaven.

They said: "We support people's right to dress and appear as they want so, while we regret Jeremy Paxman's decision to shave off his gravitas-adding beard, the choice should be entirely up to him, BBC pogonophobia notwithstanding."

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