Jeremy Paxman: “I don’t see Newsnight, I’m afraid”

The political broadcaster also reveals that he would not be averse to compulsory voting and brands Russell Brand an "idiot"

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It’s been almost a year since Jeremy Paxman stepped down from the BBC2’s flagship current affairs show Newsnight – and these days he doesn’t even bother to watch it.

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“I don’t have any second thoughts about my decision. I don’t see Newsnight, I’m afraid,” he says in this week’s Radio Times. “My idea of fun is to go to bed at 10.30pm and read a book.”

He’ll be up much later than that next month, though. Together with comedian David Mitchell, Paxman is set to present Channel 4’s election night coverage, which will take a light-hearted look at the results.

“The aim is to tell the whole story and to tell it in an entertaining way,” he explains. “I’m not preparing any sketches, but there are some monologues about voting, about Scotland, what’s wrong with politics. And one or two bits of telly on the night that will involve the three of us.”

Paxman also says he has no time for Russell Brand – who he memorably took to task on Newsnight in 2013 – and in particular the comedian’s view that people should not vote in protest at the current democratic system.

“I’m just astonished anyone would take that position seriously,” he says. “It’s the position of an idiot.”

He adds: “On the whole, I’m in favour of the state getting out of people’s lives, but I would not have a problem with voting being made compulsory. But if you did that, you’d have to have a box for ‘None of the above.'”

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Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, in shops on 28th April and from newsstand for iPad and iPhone