“Oh do stop preening you ridiculous man” thunders Jeremy Paxman in jokey set-to with Robert Peston

The broadcasting giants enjoy a bear hug and a bit of ribbing at the Radio Times Covers Party

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It was a coming together of broadcasting giants that you would only get at the Radio Times Covers party.

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RadioTimes.com was interviewing ITV News political editor Robert Peston on camera when into view came Jeremy Paxman admonishing his former BBC colleague with the words: “Oh do stop preening, you ridiculous man!”.

“Coming from you!” rejoined Peston, a former BBC economics editor, after the two enjoyed a friendly bear hug. Watch the incident here then scroll down for the full interview.

Peston then went on to answer the question he had been asked before he was interrupted, namely who he most missed at the BBC.

“Not him,” he said with a smile, looking back at Paxman, the erstwhile main anchor of Newsnight.

However there is one person that Peston does miss, his old compadre Eddie Mair with whom he frequently joshed on the airwaves. The two also shared the cover of Radio Times last year.

“We have a famously complicated relationship,” he said of the PM presenter. “I wouldn’t say it’s always been easy but he is hilarious, he’s brilliant, he is the consummate radio broadcaster.

“Of course I miss him and I will definitely keep in touch. I saw him tonight and we are having lunch.”

Asked whether the two were really in love, Peston said: “We love each other. It’s a sort of trial separation but I think it’s proving harder for him than for me but I’m going to help him through it.”

Peston added that he has continued to enjoy a free rein when it comes to what he wears, insisting that ITV has not ordered him to sport a tie despite the controversy his lack of neckwear caused when he worked at the BBC.

“They seem to be pretty relaxed about how I appear,” he said, adding that he was “surprised” to be on the receiving end of personal criticism about his appearance and presenting style when he joined the BBC from a career in newspapers.

But he has fond memories of his old workplace, which he left last year for a job at ITV.

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“I miss the BBC, I love the BBC but the terrible truth is I’m having a whale of a time at ITV.”