Paxman’s back: Cameron and Miliband grilled

Jeremy Paxman grills David Cameron

Jeremy Paxman grills David Cameron

The day after the BBC fired Jeremy Clarkson for assaulting his producer, it was good to see the other famous Jeremy back in action. Former Newsnight presenter Paxman grilled David Cameron and Ed Miliband live in a pre-election debate.

Paxman's presses Miliband

Paxman’s presses Miliband

Cameron came off worst – in a repeat of the first 2010 TV debate, he was nervous and under-perfomed, at least against Paxman. By contrast, Ed Miliband did rather well. He was  impassioned, confident and humorous. Many neutrals will have been impressed. He came up with the best line of the night: “You’re good, Jeremy, but not that good!” in rebutting the idea that he’d be a puppet in the hands of a resurgent SNP. 

The format of the show was dreadful. The two politicians were kept separate – thanks to Cameron’s blunder in running away from direct debates. Even worst, the Paxman interviews were separated by a truly dire series of audience questions. What a contrast with viewer Diana Gould’s brilliant, forensic questioning of Mrs Thatcher on BBC Nationwide during the 1983 election. And Kay Burley was awful as the chair of the audience debate. Let’s see how next week’s edition compares.

Verdict: Miliband by a nose

Verdict: Miliband by a nose

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