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Jeremy Paxman shrugs off criticism from Andrew Marr over interview technique

Published 15/11/2016

Jeremy Paxman appeared on the Sky News show All Out Politics when he was asked about Andrew Marr's comments
Jeremy Paxman appeared on the Sky News show All Out Politics when he was asked about Andrew Marr's comments

Jeremy Paxman has said that Andrew Marr can "say what he likes" after the rival broadcaster described the ex-Newsnight host as "tortured."

The University Challenge host, 66, appeared on the Sky News show All Out Politics when he was asked about Marr's comments.

Marr, 57, had described the ex-Newsnight host as "disdainful and contemptuous and furious with his guests" in a quote that Paxman published in his own memoir.

Presenter Adam Boulton asked him: "Andrew Marr, quoted in your book A Life in Questions.. he says 'Paxman looks disdainful and contemptuous and furious with his guests because, by in large, he is'. Is that true?'

Paxman replied: "I don't know. Andrew Marr can say what he likes, poor chap. He also described me as genuinely angry and tortured."

His voice raised, Paxman added: "I'm not disdainful and contemptuous of my guests any more than you are" to which Boulton replied: " OK, just your interviewers."

Paxman said of his famously aggressive interviewing technique: "I am interested in what they (guests) have to say but I'm disdainful of having bollocks talked to me. Yes, of course."

He added: "Andrew Marr can say what he likes. He's not the font of all wisdom."

Paxman also hit out at the "frenetic way" in which 24-hour news is delivered and at TV bosses for making their news presenters stand up.

"In a lot of news studios now, they make people like you or me stand up to deliver the news. Why? What's the point?... It gives a false sense of urgency," he said.

Boulton replied: "If you sit for too long, you get piles" to which Paxman laughed: "Speak for yourself. I'm sorry to hear that Adam."

Paxman also admitted that he had wrongly predicted Hillary Clinton would become US president, but that she was the "most awful candidate" and "absolutely useless".

He said: "She may have been qualified but that wasn't the point. She failed to give any sense... of what the country will be like (if she was elected).

"She failed to give any sense of purpose and future and bright sunlit uplands...she never did that and I think that's why she lost."

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