Heads up: Top comment and controversy

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

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?

React Now

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?