JEREMY PAXMAN says he may keep his beard that sent Twitter into meltdown.
The Newsnight presenter, who lives in Stonor, was the hot topic on the social networking site after he appeared on the BBC 2 programme on Monday night.
He grew the beard while on holiday and had decided against shaving it off before returning to work.
One of the first people to see it was Paxman’s friend Tom Fort, a Sonning Common parish councillor, when the pair met up in Scotland a few weeks ago.
Mr Fort, who used to work for the BBC, said: “He was on the receiving end of a great deal of stick.
“I haven’t seen him since and I have nothing further to add on the subject — a man’s beard is his own affair.
“Personally, I am not big of facial hair but in my view it added an element of gravitas to his appearance.”
Twitter users were split on whether the beard suited the 63-year-old University Challenge host.
Some suggested he looked like Ben Fogle or Father Christmas while Piers Morgan compared him to TV comedy character Albert Steptoe. Crime writer Ian Rankin said: “It is 1973 and I’m really digging the new album by Paxman’s Beard.”
The presenter’s Newsnight colleague Emily Maitlis tweeted: “Right, that’s it. I’m working on a moustache for Thursday’s Newsnight.”
Paxman himself observed that BBC presenters rarely sport facial hair and joked that his employers were pogonophobic, which means having an abnormal fear of beards.
He said: “I have grown a beard for the last few summers and suddenly wondered whether I really needed to shave it off to present
“Unless you’re lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools and Horses, Demis Roussos or Abu Hamza, the BBC is generally as pognophobic 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.”
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