Why Dimbleby will be giving bullocks a wide berth

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He has been a Question Time stalwart, seeing ‘heavyweights’ like Nick Griffin and Kelvin MacKenzie in the process. But David Dimbleby is tonight missing his first edition in more than 15 years after he finally met his match: a bullock, which injured him in a “farming accident.”

Mr Dimbleby, who is 71, needed stitches after the beast reared, knocking him out and cutting his head as he loaded it on a trailer at his Sussex farm. “Trust my wife's bullock to take me out. I'll be giving bullocks a wide berth in future,” said the presenter, known for his no-nonsense style.

He was reportedly taken to Eastbourne District General Hospital after the brush with the animal, which does not have a name but is of the Dexter breed. A BBC spokesman said: “David is recovering well. He attended hospital yesterday but, as he received a head injury, he is staying there for observation.

“This is just as a precaution, which is not unusual for a patient suffering concussion, and he should return home shortly. David would like to thank the staff at the hospital and he looks forward to returning to Question Time next week.”

Mr Dimbleby, who has presented the BBC’s flagship debate programme since 1994, has also presented the BBC’s election coverage and shows such as A Picture of Britain in 2004 and follow up How We Built Britain in 2007. He lives with his wife Belinda Giles in Polegate, East Sussex. The pair have been married since 2000.

Recently, Dimbleby faced calls from shadow chancellor George Osborne to follow in Bruce Forsyth’s footsteps whom, the MP for Tatton said, had accepted a pay cut in the aftermath of the Strictly Come Dancing race row.

To laughter and applause from the audience, the Tory frontbencher said Forsyth had “agreed to take a big salary cut as I understand it, as one of the stars of the BBC. So maybe he is setting an example which maybe others will follow, David.” In response to Osborne’s jibe, Dimbleby quipped: “Tory policy.”

He also presided over the edition which saw Historian David Starkey and Labour Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw clash over whether fellow BBC presenter Andrew Marr should have asked prime minister Gordon Brown about his health.

“We have a right to know [about the prime minister’s health],” Mr Starkey said, adding that politicians are now celebrities. “What is private becomes public and what is public becomes private and once you’ve got the genie out of the bottle, you cannot put it back again,” he added.

John Humphreys, presenter of Mastermind and Radio 4’s Today programme stood in for Mr Dimbleby for last night’s show, filmed in Weston-super Mare.