JEREMY Paxman has been accused of Scrooge-like behaviour by fellow BBC colleagues after he banned a Christmas tree and decorations from the Newsnight studio.
The current affairs show, which Paxman has hosted for more than 20 years, shares the same television studio as BBC Breakfast, which is front by Sian Williams and Bill Turnbull.
But the 61 year-old, known for his hard-hitting interviews, has reportedly told his public broadcasting colleagues that he does not want any reminder of Christmas when he presents the BBC Two show.
Staff have described the presenter as "Scrooge" for his refusal to have either a Christmas tree and decorations on the set of the popular current affairs show.
Insiders, however, claimed Paxman, who also hosts the broadcaster's popular University Challenge, does not want the set turned into "Santa's grotto".
While BBC Breakfast have a tree set up prominently placed on its set behind their settee, by the time Newsnight goes to air later in the evening it has mysteriously disappeared.
During a live segment on the top-rating BBC One morning show last week, Turnbull, 55, disclosed how Paxman insisted it was removed by the time he, and his late-night crew, arrive for filming.
While talking to Kirstie Allsopp, the television property expert, Turnbull told viewers: "As soon as we're off air it's whipped out of the way."
Williams, 47, added: "Jeremy doesn't want a tree in the studio. Bah humbug!"
On Twitter, Sarah MacKinlay, a political journalist, posted last week: "@BBCbreakfast news just revealed Paxman's refused to have Christmas tree in @BBCNewsnight studio ... #precious."
Later Andy Comfort, a presenter on BBC Radio Humberside, tweeted: "Today's 5 to 9 song is for Jeremy Paxman, who's been branded a Scrooge for banning a Christmas tree from the Newsnight set. Ideas, please?"
A source told The Sun on Monday: "Jeremy doesn't want his Newsnight set turned into Santa's grotto. We think it's hilarious, as do the Breakfast crew. But that's Jeremy all over."
Neither spokesmen for the BBC and Paxman, who has presented Newsnight since 1989, were available for comment. The BBC Breakfast hosts have also not commented further.