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Paxo turns fire on the Beeb

16 April 2014

6:02 PM

16 April 2014

6:02 PM

Is Mr Steerpike alone in thinking that Jeremy Paxman can’t be bothered anymore? First there was his wet rag interview with the ‘Chrystal Methodist’ Paul Flowers, the former Co-op chairman. Now he’s turned his (still potent) guns on the BBC itself. In an interview with the Guardian, the well-remunerated Newsnight presenter has slammed Aunty’s ‘closed corporate culture’:

‘It is smug. I love the BBC in many ways, but at the same time it has made me loathe aspects of it, and that’s a very odd state of affairs. When I see people being given £1m merely for walking out of the door, when I see £100m being blown on that DMI [digital media initiative] thing, a stupid technical initiative like that, I start wondering: how much longer are we going to test the public’s patience?’

Indeed, ‘how much longer’? Rumours are swirling that Newsnight editor Ian Katz is sharpening his axe for Paxo. Are these the words of a BBC employee with nothing to lose?

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Show comments
  • gram64

    I’m a UKIP supporter, and Paxman is (or was), privately, very much left of centre politically, but I’d trust that man more than any other interviewer to kebab every politician of any hue and to do so without fear or favour.

    His questioning is forensically brilliant. He gets to the heart of the matter with a brilliant economy of words. He’s a rottweiler protecting our democracy. Those who try to belittle him here wouldn’t last 30 seconds in an interview with him.

    The only criticism I have of the man is that he too often allows guests to talk over each other.

  • Bonkim

    Will be a sad loss but then all good things come to an end sometime. Paxman is forthright and what he says is true and although programmes are high quality, the BBC is poorly managed, takes its annual subscription for granted.

  • Terry Field

    He has a free mind, and unlike many, an internal ‘pole star’ that tells him what is, and what is not ‘right’.
    That, combined with the experience of time, and the growth of the corporate culture all around him, must be depressing and alienating.
    Most little crawlers never see or care about rot and degeneration. He plainly does.
    So in comes the leftie who pretends to be ‘unbiased’ (ha blo*dy ha, more Guardian made flesh and shoved down people’s throats) and that sort simply cannot abide a crumpled old truth-machine like Paxo.
    Lets make way for a smiling little pinko liar to lull us to sleep with stories of false harmony, as newsnight becomes’ The Nightgarden’, for adults.

  • tom jones

    Put Paxman in charge of the Beeb and things might get better. No-one high up in the Beeb give a damn about us – their licence fee payers.

  • Your Correspondent

    The man is an odious reptile. At his oily sycophantic best when crawling round Labour politicians and supporters discussing fat cat pay for bankers (but never fat cat pay at the BBC). Shows his true metal when bullying and humiliating any woman foolish enough to go on Newsnight to defend the Tories.

    • Terry Field

      Hardly true

  • anna

    He’s been happy to accept shedloads of cash from the BBC over many years. A bit hypocritical, I think.

    Also, it’s OK when Paxo is skewering slippery politicians but he can be gratuitously rude on occasions to people who don’t deserve it..

    I recall his sneering opening question to a very urbane and charming French diplomat who looked initially stunned, but who speedily recovered and squashed Paxo with a silky and courteous put-down. His interview with the guy chosen to be the first Brit in space (sorry, I can’t remember the name) was a disgrace: unwarranted aggression, sneers, and attempted humiliation, to which his interviewee responded with grace, good humour and quiet assurance. On both occasions, Paxo ended up looking like a boor and prat and I was pleased to see him bested.

  • Fencesitter

    If anyone wants a reminder of Paxo’s worth, read A Higher Form of Killing – the book on chemical and germ warfare he co-authored with the (always excellent) Robert Harris.

  • Donafugata

    Paxo is still the best TV interviewer we have got, his legendary disdain is in refreshing contrast to others, too terrified of causing offence.

    He asks the questions I want answers to but knows when to shut up.
    When Medhi, Majdi and Mo (something like that) were arguing he just sat back with folded arms and let the sparks fly, so showing more than could have been learned from a one-to-one with any of the men.

    “Thank you all very much”, indeed.

    • ButcombeMan

      I do not agree.

      Paxo is maybe a tad lazy and does not seem to do his homework. He is sharp though and relies on his speed of thinking process to succeed.

      Politicians all fear Brillo much more. Does his homework, more patient, tends to interrupt less, uses the homework to great effect. Brillo does not need to raise an eyebrow or visibly sneer. He does the job properly, clinically.

      Still a joy to watch him do over, Diane Abbott (Youtube).

    • startledcod

      Brilo is better by a country mile, not least because is trained and competent in economics which he uses to very great effect. Surely he should be Sir Brillo soon.

  • John Lea

    He’s an incredible asset, and would be a sad loss should he go. He has an adversarial approach to interviewing politicians, of course, which is how it should be, but he also asks intelligent questions and gives viewers credit for having some intelligence. You could hardly say the same of Jon Snow, could you?

  • hdb

    Ian Katz? Same bloke who gave the feminists free run of the Guardian’s Comment is Free when he worked for that paper?

  • Kaine

    I quite liked the Paul Flowers interview. It was interesting to hear his account. Yes we could have just had Paxo shout at him for twenty minutes but I don’t know what that would have gotten us we didn’t see with the Select Committee.

    • komment

      Not unless you reverse the actions of Cromwell.

  • Realpolitik

    He’s just a Marxist footsoldier, he thinks he demonstrates intelligence by looking down on everyone; thinking every thing’s puerile and beneath him, when in actual fact it shows him to be an arrogant snob. I recall previous articles about his conduct on “University Challenge” he really is a conceited egotistic little man who has never stood for anything and never will.

    • Robertus Maximus

      I witnessed his arrival on Current Affairs at the BBC many years ago. You have described him very accurately. He was so arrogant as to be laughable.

      • Realpolitik

        Vile “man”.

  • Clotsworth

    Perhaps he could be the first DG of the English Toadcasting Co, once Blighty be laid to rest?

  • brossen99