Jeremy Paxman (born May 11, 1950) is a BBC journalist, news presenter and author. He is most famous for his abrasive and forthright manner on the BBC's Newsnight programme.
Paxman was educated at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he edited the student newspaper Varsity. His career began on local radio before moving to Belfast as an investigative journalist. In 1977 Paxman moved to London to work on Tonight. Two years later he moved to Panorama. After seven years on that programme, working from locations as diverse as Beirut, Uganda and Central America, he accepted a job presenting the Six O'Clock News. In 1989 he moved to his current job as presenter of Newsnight. Whilst maintaining his spot fronting that show, his career has diversified into the presentation of a number of television programmes, such as the quiz programme University Challenge and You Decide.
On one famous Newsnight occasion, in an attempt to adduce a truthful answer, he put the same question ("Did you threaten to overrule him?") fourteen times to the then Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard, relating to the sacking of the Head of the Prison Service following a well-publicised jail-break. Howard evaded the question each time ("I did not overrule him") and never gave a straight answer.
Paxman is a well-known public figure, nicknamed "Paxo", which is both a contraction of his surname and the name of a popular British stuffing mix. Any kind of tough questioning is routinely described as Paxmanesque in recognition of his style.
Paxman became a focus of media attention in his own right in October 2000 when the stolen Enigma machine which had been taken from Bletchley Park Museum was inexplicably sent to him in the mail. He had it returned to its rightful location.
He is also an author of non-fiction books. His first book, Friends in High Places: Who Runs Britain? investigated the labyrithine connections between those in power in early 1990s Britain. It was published in 1991. A study of the English nation entitled The English: A Portrait of a People followed in 1998 to considerable critical acclaim. He later collaborated with Robert Harris to create A Higher Form of Killing, a book exploring the history of biological and chemical warfare that arose out of a Panorama programme that they worked on together. His most recent work is The Political Animal which discusses the character traits of those that enter into politics.