Thumbs down to the beard

August 18, 2013, 8:00 AM UTC

74% of people with an opinion think Jeremy Paxman looked better without a beard – and the majority say beards are scruffier, less sexy and worse for career prospects than being clean shaven 

Replying to a media uproar, Jeremy Paxman said of the beard which became famous after appearing on Newsnight that "I may keep it or I may shave it off, but I think I'll make my own decision." New YouGov research for the Sunday Times finds that the British public think Mr Paxman was better off clean shaven - and that generally, beards are scruffy, less sexy and worse for your career. 

74% of British adults say that Jeremy Paxman ‘looked better without a beard,’ while 26% say he looks better with one (excluding those who ‘don’t know or did not see a picture of his beard’ - 49% of the total).



62% say having a beard is scruffier than being clean shaven, while 54% say that being shaven is more attractive to the opposite sex; 65% say it is better for your career prospects; and 47% say it is more distinguished.



Jeremy Paxman said that “unless you’re lucky enough to be Uncle Albert on Only Fools and Horses … the BBC is generally pognophobic [anti-beards].” The public, however, are split on the issue: 27% say the BBC are biased against presenters with beards, while 29% say they are not and 44% don’t know. 



The phrase “Paxman beard” became a trending topic on Twitter after the beard made an appearance on the BBC on Monday night. Jeremy Paxman said in response that "I have grown a beard for the last few summers, and suddenly wondered whether I really needed to shave it off."

See the full poll results