Who knew beards were capable of creating such a media furore, eh? Both Jeremy Paxman and Gareth Malone generated serious column inches in 2013 prompted by their decision to sport some facial fluff, with the latter handed the prestigious title of Beard of the Year – an accolade he now holds jointly with actor John Hurt and rugby player Geoff Parling.
But while Malone continues to champion his rusty stubble, Paxman shaved his whiskers off earlier this month, declaring "Beards are so 2013". Now The Choir: Sing While You Work frontman has fired back, terming the Newsnight presenter "a traitor to the cause". Fighting talk, indeed.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com at the annual Covers Party, Malone did admit, however, that his own beard's future remains uncertain. "I don't know if mine's going to last forever but I'm not filming at the moment – I'm doing a bit of writing – so it's fine."
In the meantime, he has an illustrious beard in his sights... "I'm going for the Ranulph Fiennes look," he declared. Good luck, Gareth.