UK
21/05/2014 04:34 BST | Updated 21/05/2014 04:59 BST

Newsnight: Berlusconi Tells Paxman He Did Not Call Angela Merkel An 'Unf*ckable Lard-Arse' (VIDEO)

Outgoing Newsnight stalwart Jeremy Paxman locked horns with former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi outside his villa in Milan for an interview broadcast on the BBC on Tuesday, pitting the two pantomime villains in a head-to-head on the issues of Europe, Russia, the European Central Bank (ECB), Italian politics and, most surreally, Angela Merkel.

When Paxo hit him with the question of whether he called the German Chancellor an "unf*ckable lard-arse", the 77-year-old lothario denied the accusation, saying it had been "made up", while defending the bizarre joke in which Berlusconi jumped out from a tree and shouted "cuckoo" in Merkel's ear.

Other interesting flashes from the conversation included Berlusconi forwarding Tony Blair for the role of President of Europe, and the Italian’s current dismay at the sanctions levied against top Russian officials by the EU and US over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea earlier this year.

"[Sanctions] are putting distance between our countries, which could lead Russia back to the isolation of the Cold War," Berlusconi warned.

He also demanded "radical changes" to the eurozone, including Britain’s adoption of the euro, claimed Italy was no longer a democracy, citing four coup d’états in the past 20 years, and said the bunga bunga accusations were "the most amazing things".

Who could take over Newsnight from Jeremy Paxman?