Our Parliamentarian of the Year awards continue to makes the news. I’m reliably informed that this item in Dominic Lawson’s Mail column is the result of a jolly exchange at last Thursday’s lunch:
‘There are two television programmes which I watch regularly: Newsnight and University Challenge — both presented by Jeremy Paxman. But which Jeremy Paxman?
On Newsnight he wears a beard.
On University Challenge he is clean-shaven.
I am unsettled by the divergent appearances of the presenter in my life — though I know it is because the current series of University Challenge was filmed before he abandoned his razor.
At a lunch last week I asked Jeremy if it were not beyond the skills of the BBC’s wizards to add the new beard digitally to the quizmaster’s image.
He shot me the look he gives to obtuse politicians, but then made an extraordinary confession.
Some years ago, one of the contestants from an all-woman Cambridge college put up her hand, to say that she had to go to the loo.
They stopped filming . . . but she refused to return, even after her team captain knocked on the loo door, imploring her to come out.
It continued with just three on the team — and the BBC superimposed earlier images of the missing contestant.
Naughty perhaps, but it was right to spare the poor woman further embarrassment.’
Another great BBC scandal of our time!