After Paxman shamed student on University Challenge, here's the presenter's top 5 ‘rude’moments


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Jeremy Paxman's style - prickly to flat-out rude - has earned him huge approval ratings, but today the BBC's top anchor came under attack himself for savaging a shy student on last night's episode of University Challenge. The UCL undergratuate, Tyszczuk Smith, was left crestfallen after his grasp of England's monarchical history was subject to Paxman's scorn.

Asked which royal figure said "The Liberties of England and the Protestant religion I will maintain" in 1688, Smith ventured William I. "I'm sorry that's the wrong answer", replied Paxman "and you know it's very wrong". Who wouldn't know the right one? "William of Orange of course, William III".

The sight of Paxman in highest dudgeon makes for captivating television and, though there might be sympathy for his latest victim (who hardly uttered a peep in the incident's wake), it doesn't seem the veteran broadcaster is mellowing. At all. Here's five moments from the archive to prove it.

1.   "You ever think you are incompetent?"

Paxman berates junior MP Chloe Smith during a Newsnight interview on the fuel tax U-turn in June, 2012

2.    "Like a bad kebab, vomited out of the single European currency"

Greeks were enraged by the stereotyping in a discussion of whether their nation would be forced to exit the Eurozone.

3.    "Those old-fashioned values, how are they consonant with your party taking money from a pornographer?"

Tony Blair was put on the back-foot when confronted with a list of titles published by the Express group - donors to the Labour party - including 'Horny Housewives', 'Megaboobs' and 'Skinny and Wriggly'.

4.     "Are those your medals?"

Paxman interviewed BNP leader Nick Griffin in the run up to the 2010 General Election and angled in on the war medals that appeared above Griffin's shoulder in a party political broadcast. Were they his? Erm, no. They belonged to the owner of the house where the clip was filmed.

5.    "Did you threaten to over-rule him?"

Not particularly acerbic on its own, but persistence has always been key to Paxman's armory. In 1997, he asked Michael Howard the same question twelve times in an attempt to pin the then Home Secretary down on what led to the dismissal of Derek Lewis, a prison chief who oversaw Parkhurst prison at the time of several high-profile escapes, and who was later paid £200,000 in compensation after Howard admitted he had been wrongfully sacked.

Did you think Paxman's latest outburst crossed the line? Or is this another case of confected Twitter outrage?