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Jeremy Paxman: From Troubles reporter to darling of the media

By Noel McAdam

He may be on our TV screens less than he used to, but Jeremy Paxman appears to be busier than ever, making national headlines in the last few days over an almost £1m three-book deal.

And former friends and colleagues at the BBC are already salivating with anticipation over one of them.

The second of the trilogy, being published by William Collins, is to tell of his years at the Beeb, including his experiences with the many politicians he has interviewed.

He has also signed up to work with Channel Four on its general election coverage, after bowing out of the flagship Newsnight programme after a quarter-of-a-century as its chief interrogator.

Mr Paxman also confirmed last week he had been approached about standing as the Conservative candidate for the next Mayor of London following on from Boris Johnson, who has said he will stand down in 2016.

He said he had turned the offer down and revealed the story had "begun life as a Boris Johnson joke".

"I was indeed approached about the gig (but) I decided a week ago that I wouldn't take it on for all the eclairs in Paris."

Born in Leeds, Paxman is a Cambridge English graduate and already has a string of books to his name including The English: Portrait Of A People, others on fishing and politics, and he continues to host long-running quiz programme University Challenge.

Renowned for his caustic comments and crushing interview style, he spent time as a reporter in Northern Ireland and had stints on the Tonight programme, Panorama and the Six O'Clock News before joining Newsnight in 1989, where his most famous clashes included Michael Howard - asking him the same question 12 times - and hosting BBC Radio Four's Start The Week for four years.

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