Last night, Jeremy Paxman shocked Newsnight viewers to their very core by having grown a beard.
The phrase “Paxman beard” was trending on Twitter Monday night, with the actual topics of Newsnight becoming lost in a sea of frantic reactions to the hair on Paxman’s usually clean-shaven face.
It was previously thought there was an informal beard ban for BBC newsreaders, and Paxman was quoted a year ago at the Liberal Democrats’ autumn conference saying that the on-air “beard quotient seems to be down”. This was Paxman’s first Newsnight appearance since returning from holiday, which might explained his new, relaxed appearance.
The reactions to Paxman’s new beard were a mixture of awe, fear, and even arousal.
Even fellow BBC newsreader Emily Maitlis was affected by the charm of Paxman’s beard, vowing she would have to grow some facial hair of her own:
Impressively, the trending of Paxman’s beard has its own fan art:
Tuesday morning, BBC News covered the trending of Paxman’s beard on Twitter, which then created the Twitter-based discussion of whether or not people reacting to Paxman’s beard on Twitter was actually news.
Some viewers suggested the BBC’s coverage of the reaction to Paxman’s beard was “meta” while others insisted it was a sign that the media was officially eating its own tail. Either way, the story is currently the most read on BBC’s website.