UK
31/03/2015 11:57 BST | Updated 31/03/2015 11:59 BST

Jeremy Paxman 'Genuinely Tortured And Angry,' Andrew Marr Says

Jeremy Paxman is an aggressive interviewer because he is "genuinely tortured and angry," his former BBC colleague Andrew Marr has said.

Marr, whose interviewing style on his Sunday politics show is much calmer than Paxman's, also said the "Paxmaning" given to David Cameron and Ed Miliband last week was "not a good replacement" for a head-to-head debate.

He also said Paxman's apparent disdain for his politician interviewees was real and came from genuine feelings of anger.

Paxman's aggressive cross-examination of Miliband and Cameron at last week's debute leaders' event came after an absence from televised interviewing since he gave up presenting Newsnight last year after 25 years.

Speaking at the Polis Journalism Conference at the London School of Economics, Marr said: "The thing about Jeremy is that he is a genuinely tortured, angry individual - you get the real Jeremy.

"He looks disdainful and contemptuous and furious with his guests because he by and large is. You can't fake these things on television.

"No disrespect to Jeremy Paxman, but it would have been a lot more interesting had it been head-to-head. Replacing that with a good 'Paxmaning' for both of them, while entertaining, was not a good replacement."

Marr, the BBC's former political editor, also said he thought Miliband had done well against Paxman when he told him he was "important but not that important".

Marr added: "There is a danger for all of us, as it were, in the interviewer's chair to forget that we are not the ones standing for election.

"And I thought Ed Miliband did score when he said, 'Jeremy, you're important, but you're not that important'."

Paxman and Miliband's encounter veered into the personal when the former Newsnight interrogator asked how Miliband felt being perceived as a weak "geek".

At the end of their exchange, as the camera panned away but the microphones were still on, Paxman asked Miliband: "Are you alright?" Miliband replied: "Yeah, are you?"

andrew marr

Marr said politicians who avoid giving soundbites in interviews were 'wasting everyone's time'

Marr also said he was frustrated by politicians who try to avoid giving a soundbite in interviews, saying that leaving the audience with "no thought worth having, no new fresh phrase, never mind any policy" was "an incredible waste of everyone's time".

He added: “I always get frustrated when people come on to the show and manage to say absolutely nothing interesting for 20 minutes and then come off afterwards and say: ‘I think that went rather well, don’t you?’

“And I can remember a long time ago talking to Ed Miliband about this… I said: ‘You said absolutely nothing, there’s no single story out of that’. He said: ‘Yes, exactly.'"