Jeremy Paxman unveiled his ‘new look’ on Monday night’s programme
First it was Beyonce’s haircut, now it is Jeremy Paxman’s beard – Twitter went into meltdown on Monday after his facial hair made its Newsnight debut.
Minutes after the news programme started on BBC Two, the phrase “Paxman beard” had become a trending topic.
“I like Paxman’s beard,” said comedian Jenny Eclair. “Looks like he might ride a Harley come the weekend.”
Crime writer Ian Rankin commented: “It is 1973 and I’m really digging the new album by Paxman’s Beard.”
“I hope Paxman’s Beard is the episode of Newsnight where Jeremy meets the evil Jeremy from the parallel universe,” said Rob Manuel, editor of influential internet newsletter B3ta.
Maitlis ‘working on moustache’
By Tuesday morning, the presenter’s bristles had launched their own Twitter account on the social networking site.
Paxman’s new appearance came almost a year after he noted on air that the “beard quotient seems to be down” at the Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference.
The flood of comments came a week after pop star Beyonce posted a photo of her new pixie-style haircut on Instagram, causing another flurry of comments.
BBC Radio 5 live presenter Shelagh Fogarty noted that the furore over Paxman proved “it isn’t just women’s appearance… that people obsess about”.
Paxman has worked for Newsnight since 1990. He is also known for hosting University Challenge.
The 63-year-old had been on holiday for a couple of weeks before Monday night’s programme – and his new look laid down the gauntlet to the programme’s other presenters.
“Right that’s it,” tweeted his colleague Emily Maitlis. “I’m working on a moustache.”