Jeremy Paxman shaves and says 'beards are so 2013'

Beard that divided Britain is no more as Newsnight host takes razor to hashtag-generating facial hair

LAST UPDATED AT 09:49 ON Tue 7 Jan 2014

THE beard that scandalised and delighted Britain in equal measure has vanished. 

A cleanly-shaved Jeremy Paxman greeted the audience of BBC's Newsnight programme last night and declared that "beards are so 2013".

The silvery, well-clipped beard became a sensation on social media when it made its unexpected debut in August last year. The "Fawksian" growth triggered the creation of several hashtags and was soon trending on Twitter.

Now, the beard that comedian Russell Brand called "gorgeous", has gone, consigned to the bathroom sink of history. "If a chap can't shave on holiday, what can he do?" 63-year-old Paxman told the Radio Times. "Beards are so 2013."

When Paxman was still hirsute he claimed he had been a "poster boy" for an organisation called the Beard Liberation Front. The group is opposed to the discrimination faced by those who let their facial hair run wild.

The Beard Liberation Front expressed its disappointment at Paxman's decision to wield his razor, saying: "We support people's right to dress and appear as they want so, while we regret Jeremy Paxman's decision to shave off his gravitas-adding beard, the choice should be entirely up to him, BBC pogonophobia notwithstanding."

Pogonophobia, for those not attuned to the beard debate, is defined as an abnormal fear or dislike of beards.

Paxman's BBC colleague Robin Lustig – a former Beard of the Year winner – also bemoaned the loss of the Paxman beard. "I am very disappointed," Lustig told Radio Times. "I had high hopes that Jeremy would pave the way for very many more men with beards to appear on our screens. I hope the fact that he has decided to get rid of his won't deter others."

Paxman's decision to shave is likely to be supported by at least one high-profile Briton: the Queen. She has reportedly "ordered" Prince Harry to remove the ginger growth he began cultivating during his trek to the Antarctic in November. The monarch believes it looks "scruffy and inappropriate" at work, the Daily Beast reports. · 

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