Paxman likens BBC to decolonised Britain

Posted on April 17, 2012


written by Robert Pollard for New Statesman

Corporation’s decision to relocate to central London angers Newsnight presenter.

The BBC ‘s chief interrogator, Jeremy Paxman, has criticised the corporation’s decision to move from it’s current West London home at Television Centre to a location in central London.

Famous for his aggressive interviewing – having made a career out of his scathing put-downs – Paxman has now turned on his own employers in an interview for Radio Times.

The decision to move to the revamped Broadcasting House has been taken during a period of budget cuts, something which has clearly irked Paxman. In typically outspoken fashion, he has likened the BBC to Britain prior to decolonisation.

They always said that the way you know if the British are going to decolonise is when they start building massive government buildings – that was certainly the case in India.

And the BBC’s much the same. What organisation – at a time when it has no money, allegedly – would move from cheap square footage in west London to Oxford Circus?

In recent times, the BBC has spent huge sums on location changes, including new premises in Salford, as well as the proposed move to Broadcasting House.

Many of Paxman’s colleagues have questioned the logic of these changes, with some refusing to be relocated outside of London when the Salford site was opened.

A spokesperson for the BBC responded:

We are surprised that Jeremy did not know that the move to Broadcasting House will save the BBC more than £700 million.

The BBC is reducing the size of its estate and Broadcasting House will become the primary BBC site in London and for the first time in the BBC’s history key network and global services in Television, Radio, News and Online will work together on one site.

Paxman has a history of famously sharp-tongued attacks. Most recently, he compared Alex Salmond to Robert Mugabe on his Newsnight programme. However, his grilling of Michael Howard remains, for many, Paxman’s finest hour.

Posted in: Media