Interrogation fans are rejoicing after Jeremy Paxman confirmed that he will return to the BBC’s Newsnight this week despite rumours that he had become “deeply disillusioned” with the long-running programme.
It was reported at the weekend that Paxman was ready to quit Newsnight after 23 years on the show, after it wrongly linked a “senior Conservative politician” with child abuse allegations.
But Paxman, who has been away in the US filming a documentary, said that he would return to the programme.
He told The Sunday Telegraph: “I have been away filming, but I will definitely be there on Wednesday (November 21).”
Whilst the Newsnight report earlier in the month did not directly name the senior Conservative figure, former Tory Treasurer Lord McAlpine was later incorrectly linked by thousands of people on Twitter to a paedophile ring in a North Wales children’s home.
An internal BBC report concluded that basic journalistic checks were not followed with the Newsnight investigation.
Former BBC director general George Entwistle stepped down after the controversy broke, and the BBC has agreed to pay £185,000 in compensation to Lord McAlpine.
Discussing Entwistle’s departure, Paxman said: “He has been brought low by cowards and incompetents. The real problem here is the BBC’s decision, in the wake of the Hutton Inquiry, to play safe by appointing biddable people.
“They then compounded the problem by enforcing a series of cuts on programme budgets, while bloating the management. That is how you arrive at the current mess on Newsnight.”