UK

Jeremy Paxman Shaves Off The Most Talked-About Beard Of 2013

07/01/2014 09:10 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 15:53 GMT
BBC

New Year, New Paxo. Or old Paxo is back, depending on how you look at it.

Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman has started the New Year with a new clean-shaven look - claiming "beards are so 2013".

The broadcaster caused a stir in August when he fronted the BBC2 current affairs programme sporting a full beard.

Speaking before last night's programme, the 63 year-old told the Radio Times: "If a chap can't shave on holiday, what can he do? Beards are so 2013."

Paxman's appearance drew a huge response when he grew the beard more than five months ago, when he branded the BBC pogonophobic - having a fear of beards.

At the time, he explained his reasons, saying: 'I have grown a beard for the last few summers, and suddenly wondered whether I really needed to shave it off to present Newsnight.

''Unless you're lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools And Horses, Demis Roussos or Abu Hamza, the BBC is generally as pogonophobic as the late-lamented Albanian dictator, Enver Hoxha.

''I may keep it or I may shave it off, but I think I'll make my own decision.''

He later said: "For a glorious few days I have been a poster boy for a shadowy group called the Beard Liberation Front, which claims that facial hair invites discrimination.

"I'm finding it quite a heavy burden."

The Beard Liberation Front has lamented the decision to go clean-shaven, saying: "We support people's right to dress and appear as they want so, while we regret Jeremy Paxman's decision to shave off his gravitas adding beard, the choice should be entirely up to him, BBC pogonophobia notwithstanding."

Keith Flett, BLF organiser, said it was "understandable that Paxman felt disappointment at losing out to John Hurt and Gareth Malone for the coveted Beard of the Year Award in late December but that until he shaved he had been a serious contender for the My Hairy Valentine, sexiest beard accolade, announced each year on 14th February."