Jeremy Paxman diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

Jeremy Paxman has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:18 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 11:20 am

The 71-year-old broadcaster and University Challenge host said he has been receiving “excellent treatment” and that his symptoms are “currently mild”.

In a statement, he said: “I can confirm I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am receiving excellent treatment and my symptoms are currently mild.

“I plan to continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me and have written about my diagnosis in more detail for the June issue of the marvellous Saga Magazine.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jeremy Paxman on the Newsnight set in June 2002 (Picture: Jeff Overs/PA Wire)

“I will not be making any further comment.”

Born in Leeds, Paxman started his career in 1972 on the BBC’s graduate trainee programme, working in local radio and reporting on the Troubles in Belfast.

Shortly after moving to London in 1977, he transferred from Tonight to investigative flagship programme Panorama, before stints on the Six O’Clock News and BBC One’s Breakfast Time.

He became a presenter of Newsnight in 1989, a position he would hold until June 2014 during which time he interviewed high-profile figures from politics and culture.

Bowing out after 25 years in the job, Paxman presented a programme including an interview with then London mayor Boris Johnson, while they both rode a tandem bicycle.

Paxman has also presented University Challenge since 1994, making him the longest serving current quizmaster on UK TV.

Sky News presenter Kay Burley, who is currently off-air after breaking Covid-19 rules, was among those sending messages of support.

Sharing a photo of them together on Twitter, she wrote: “Very sorry to hear reports that my old buddy Jeremy Paxman has Parkinson’s.”

TV and radio presenter Jeremy Vine said: “Sending my best wishes to my former colleague.”

Shan Nicholas, interim chief executive at Parkinson’s UK, said: “Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world and Jeremy choosing to speak publicly about his diagnosis, will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition.

“With more than 40 symptoms, Parkinson’s is unpredictable and complex. We are glad that he has been receiving the right treatment to manage his symptoms.

“Getting the right support in place is key to helping people to take control of their lives when they are newly diagnosed. We would encourage people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s to speak to their GP or specialist to explore the best options for treatment and managing their Parkinson’s.

“Previously, Jeremy pledged to donate his brain to the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank which will one day, help scientists uncover the discoveries that will lead to better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.

“With his diagnosis, Jeremy is now also a part of the Parkinson’s community made up of 145,000 people in the UK, who are waiting for a breakthrough treatment, which we are getting closer to every day.

“We wish Jeremy all the best.”

It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.