White middle-aged man Jeremy Paxman has caused uproar in Edinburgh by claiming people from his background are unfairly discriminated against in the television industry.

Paxman, who presents BBC2's Newsnight programme, made the comments in an interview with broadcaster Mariella Frostrup shown at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

"Do I think it's a man's world in television? That is the most ridiculous question I have been asked all week," he said.

"The worst thing you can be in this industry is a middle class white male. If any middle class white male I come across says he wants to enter television, I say 'give up all hope' - they've no chance."

Frostrup responded by rejecting his claim that Paxman forms part of a "beleaguered species on television".

"Well, excuse me, but Jonathan Ross, Jeremy on Newsnight," she said.

"Look at the Today programme, Have I Got News For You, Newsnight. They are very much judged to be the people imbued with a sort of gravitas that women are still struggling to achieve."

Paxman's comments follow unkind remarks about the "sort of Scottish Raj" he believes is running the UK. It is not clear whether this explains why he chose to appear at the festival by video rather than appearing in person.

25/08/2008 12:41:37