Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman to quit

Friday, May 2, 2014

Jeremy Paxman earlier in 2014.
Image: Chatham House.

The presenter of BBC's Newsnight show, Jeremy Paxman, said on Wednesday he is to leave after 25 years. The BBC said Paxman had postponed his departure, after deciding upon it last summer, because Newsnight was going through "a difficult period".

Paxman became a notorious political interviewer after tearing a great number of political leaders apart: In an interview with Michael Howard regarding the 1995 dismissal of the director of the prison service, Derek Lewis, when Howard didn't directly answer a question, Paxman asked again — eleven more times. In an interview with Tony Blair, he asked Blair whether he prayed with US president George W. Bush. More recently, when Conservative MP and junior minister Chloe Smith appeared on the show to defend a change in fuel duty policy, Paxman showed she was apparently too too junior to have any knowledge of the decision making process.

Paxman is not leaving his twenty-year role as presenter of University Challenge.