Entertainment & Arts

Jeremy Paxman hosts his final Newsnight

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Media captionJeremy Paxman signed off his last show with a weather forecast

The BBC's Jeremy Paxman has presented his final edition of Newsnight, after 25 years fronting the programme.

The broadcaster announced in April he was leaving the show, saying he wanted to "go to bed at much the same time as most people".

During his tenure, the 63-year-old earned a reputation as one of the most fearless and feared interviewers.

The last edition included Paxman interviewing London mayor Boris Johnson while on a tandem bicycle.

It was watched by an average audience of 1.1 million viewers.

Paxman and Johnson are long-time sparring partners and share a history of colourful Newsnight interviews.

Paxman asked Mr Johnson why the London bicycle hire scheme - known to many as "Boris Bikes" - had been "such a failure".

The mayor said the scheme had been a "howling success".

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Media captionJeremy Paxman's best bits after 25 years presenting Newsnight

Later Mr Johnson said there would be a "lot of people who are very sad to see him go because he has kept the nation entertained - if not always awake - for many, many years".

During the broadcast Paxman also interviewed Peter Mandelson, at one point asking the former Labour spin doctor if ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair had "gone a bit nuts".

One of Paxman's most famous interviews was with former Home Secretary Michael Howard in 1997, when he asked 12 times whether Mr Howard had threatened to overrule prisons chief Derek Lewis.

Towards the end of Paxman's final Newsnight broadcast, Mr Howard appeared and was simply asked: "Did you?"

He replied: "No Jeremy, I didn't, but feel free to ask another 11 times."

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Media captionMichael Howard returned to Newsnight for Jeremy Paxman's final show, 17 years after their infamous 1997 interview

Paxman ended the broadcast with the words: "Thank you for watching Newsnight. I hope you continue to enjoy it. Goodnight and goodbye."

'Such a fuss'

He was also known for presenting a brief weather forecast on Newsnight - "shorn of the usual folksy nonsense about clouds bubbling up and advice about wearing woolly socks".

After the credits on his final broadcast, he appeared in front of a weather map and said: "And tomorrow's weather - more of the same. I don't know why they make such a fuss about it."

The BBC said Paxman had decided to leave the BBC Two programme last summer, but "generously agreed" to stay to help the show through "a difficult period".

In 2012, Newsnight hit the headlines after news of its decision not to run an item linking Jimmy Savile with child abuse, was made public.

Later that year, a report on the programme led to Conservative peer Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child sex abuse allegations.

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Media captionJeremy Paxman's final Newsnight included an interview with London mayor Boris Johnson

Editor Peter Rippon left his post and was replaced by former Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz last year.

Director general Tony Hall described Paxman as "a rare and dazzling talent", while the corporation's head of news, James Harding, said he had become the "great lion of BBC journalism" who "never failed to ask the difficult questions".

Paxman will continue to front BBC Two quiz University Challenge and other documentary programmes.

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