Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Friday, 22 January 2010

The behind scenes story of Paxman's 1997 Howard grilling

It was May 1997, John Major's government had been swept out of power by a Labour landslide, and Michael Howard had stepped forward to take over the leadership of the Conservative Party.

Mr Howard appeared on Newsnight in a now famous pre-leadership election interview, in which Jeremy Paxman grilled him relentlessly about the sacking of prisons chief Derek Lewis.

Former Newsnight assistant editor Tom Giles, who was in charge of the broadcast that night, tells the behind-the-scenes story of what has come to be known as one of the toughest political interviews ever conducted.

Originally broadcast on 13 May 1997.

A special programme to mark Newsnight's 30th anniversary will be broadcast on Saturday 23 January 2010 at 8pm on BBC Two.


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