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Jeremy Paxman's BBC return with Winston Churchill documentary

By Anthony Barnes

Jeremy Paxman has signed up to host his first new BBC show since stepping down as Newsnight anchor - a documentary marking the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral.

The veteran broadcaster caused controversy here last week when he cheekily suggested that the iceberg which sank the Titanic did Belfast a favour - although the man often described as Britain's greatest wartime leader also had a few choice words to say about Ulster.

Many failed to see the funny side when 'Paxo' described people here as "weird shade of orange" from tanning salons.

Now Paxman has been lined up to present the hour-long BBC One documentary Churchill: The Nation's Farewell to be screened next month as part of a range of programmes to mark the occasion.

He said: "Like most people who saw it - I was a schoolboy at the time - Churchill's funeral made a huge impression on me. Fifty years on, I thought it was time to find out whether it was all that it seemed at the time. What was it that made Winston Churchill uniquely worthy of this spectacular send-off?"

Churchill famously mocked the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone, and he often provoked the political ire of unionists.

Paxman, who has written a number of books about British history, will be seen meeting a range of figures who were involved in the events of the day when the statesman was laid to rest on January 30, 1965.

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