Entertainment bosses have come under fire for allowing Anne Robinson to host British television's first party leader's debate. For almost an hour Robinson hurled outspoken insults at Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Clegg was said to be 'almost in tears' by the end of the programme.
The feisty presenter went straight for the jugular from the outset. In the first round when Prime Minister Brown said, "I think it would be prudent for us to consider Banking at this stage," Robinson shot back, "pity you didn't think about doing something about Banking sooner, eh Gordon?"
A beleagured David Cameron got off no lighter and was on the recieving end of a salvo of bile from the diminutive firebrand, "Why do you want to see Gordon voted off, David?"
"Er, he's broken Britain," mumbled an embarrassed Cameron.
"Boo hoo," replied Robinson, "it's all broken, and what are you going to do about it?"
After thinking for a moment, Cameron replied tentatively, "em, mend it?"
"And how are you going to do that?" snapped TV's top harridan.
After a further embarrassed slience, and much stammering, Cameron replied, "I've got no idea."
Throughout the show outraged viewers called the station to complain about remarks that Gordon Brown looked like a "troll in a wind tunnel"; David Cameron was a "posh moon-faced prat" and that Nick Clegg was "such a nobody I thought you'd been voted off already."
At the end of the debate, Robinson peered over her glasses and gave the party leaders a withering look before remarking, "I've asked you all eight questions and none of you could answer any of them. You're a shambles."
However, if viewing figures are any indication, Robinson's brand of professional offensiveness was a roaring success, with over 9 million people watching.
Robinson has commented that she didn't expect the furore that ensued, saying: "I thought I was quite nice under the circumstances. Ok, so I was trying to see if I could push Brown into smashing some furniture and Cameron fainting, but you can't have everything."
With two more debates to go, it may come as no surprise that Gordon Brown was heard to remark afterwards, "Do you think for the other two we could get Paxman?"