May 11, 1950
BBC news presenter Jeremy Paxman is often criticized for his abrasive and aggressive interviewing style, yet those very qualities are what have helped make him one of Britain's leading news figures. Paxman started out in the BBC's training program in the early '70s, and quickly worked his way onto several local radio programs. He spent a decade traveling the world for BBC Radio, reporting from Belfast and London before becoming a main presenter on the BBC daily news series "Newsnight. Since 1989, Paxman has conducted some of the prestigious series' most controversial interviews; he interrogated an outgoing British Home Secretary about his alleged decision to overrule a high-ranking prison official and, in an interview conducted shortly before the Iraq War, asked Prime Minister Tony Blair if he prayed with President Bush. In 1994, Paxman took over hosting duties on the long-running quiz show "University Challenge," which fields teams of college and university students from all over Britain, and later published several best-selling books. After hosting 2009's "The Victorians," a TV documentary series based on his book about the evolution of Victorian life and culture, Paxman launched the semi-regular primetime series "Jeremy Paxman Interviews..." with episodes featuring British politicians like Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.