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Paxo's Stuffing! Jeremy Paxman's 12 best Newsnight moments

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After 25 years, Jeremy Paxman is quitting BBC Two's Newsnight.

No longer will we see politicians quaking in their boots, producers being slammed live on TV and awkward chats with rappers.

Newsnight, Jeremy Paxman

© BBC Pictures / Jeff Overs


To mark the end of an era from quite possibly Britain's greatest news broadcaster of the last two decades, Digital Spy has rounded up just some of the classic moments of Paxo on Newsnight.

1. Paxman/Rascal
Possibly the sign of things to come in terms of Newsnight incorporating surprising guests and skits (see Cookie Monster and 'Thriller'). Paxman took part in a rather bizarre interview with Dizzee Rascal following Barack Obama's presidential victory in 2008. When asking Dizzee he believed in political parties in Britain, the rapper replied: "Yeah, they exist, I believe in them. But I don't know if I care," adding: "If you believe, you can achieve, innit." The awkward silences after Dizzee's points are also classic.


2. Paxman vs The Weather
For some strange reason, Newsnight bosses thought it would be a good idea for Paxman to give viewers a weather update at the end of each episode for a week. To make sure it would only be a week, Paxman took the absolute piss out of the idea. "It's April, what do you expect?" sums it all up.


3. Did you threaten to overrule him?
This was arguably the moment which made Paxman a permanent household name in 1997. Conservative MP Michael Howard, appearing before the presenter, was swiftly asked about his relationship with former Prison Service chief Derek Lewis, who he had sacked two years previously. Howard remained stoic (do his eyes even blink?) as Paxman asked the same question 12 times without getting a respectable answer.


4. Russell Brand wants a revolution
A surprisingly fascinating conversation with the vocabulary machine that is comedian Russell Brand. Paxman challenged Brand over his role of guest editor of The New Statesman, despite him never voting. Paxman seems bemused and amazed all at once when talking to Brand, in one of Newsnight's most memorable interviews in recent years. "You're a very trivial man."


5. Grumpy sign-off
Jeremy was probably having a particularly rubbish day during this edition of Newsnight, so when the producer asked him to promote a campaign for viewers to send in their own pictures and stories, he simply didn't have time for it.


6. Have you asked him?
Michael Howard 2.0. There was a huge sense of déjà vu in 2009 when Paxman asked William Hague about Tory donor Lord Ashcroft's tax status. The same question is asked over and over, with the MP appearing more flustered than Howard over a decade before.


7. How not to speak to Paxman
A rather excruciating interview between Paxo and junior Treasury minister Chloe Smith about a rise in fuel duty. Smith came across like a Sixth Form student with far too much power being ripped apart by, well, Jeremy Paxman. You could imagine her colleagues looking on in disbelief, while sending their equivalent to Malcolm Tucker to end the interview.


8. Poor Boris
Another classic Paxman tactic of forcing out an answer. In the Mayor of London debate in 2008, Paxman "despaired" as he tried to coax an answer about buses from future victor Boris Johnson. At one point he steps forward as if he is squaring up for an actual fight.


9. Conrad Black wants to smash Jezza's face in
Possibly the fiercest interview of Paxo's career, involving media magnate Conrad Black, who had been convicted of huge fraud in 2007. After his release, Paxman repeatedly called him a criminal, much to the anger of Black, who threatened to punch the presenter in the face and called him a "gullible, priggish, English fool". Get her.


10. Don't Stand So Close to Me
Paxman may be willing to conduct an interview with a popstar or actor who's plugging something or other, but, even if it's a good cause being promoted, Paxman won't let them get away with it that easily. Here, Paxman challenges Sting over his carbon footprint, calling him an "immensely wealthy environmental missionary".


11. Beard or no Beard
Jeremy found himself in the headlines for a rather bizarre reason last year, after appearing on Newsnight with grey designer stubble. After a few weeks of deciding whether or not to keep it forever, the beard sadly met its demise.

Jeremy Paxman shows off a new beard

12. He even haunts fictional politicians
This is how Chloe Smith and Michael Howard probably felt behind the scenes. A classic Thick of It moment saw Paxman taking on junior minister Ben Swain (Justin Edwards), leaving him constantly blinking and unable to answer questions with any aplomb.

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