BBC's Jeremy Paxman challenged to visit Blaenavon after his Newsnight jibe
Shocked Blaenavon residents have challenged Jeremy Paxman to come and visit the town, after he jibed it was not as famous as the Lake District.
They have offered to take the BBC presenter on a tour taking in Big Pit and the ironworks, before standing him a drink in a local pub and asking him if he would like to say something more complimentary.
Torfaen Council have even made a video asking him if he will take up the challenge of a visit, depicting Blaenavon’s attractions to a backdrop of acoustic guitar before closing with a reference to his famous style of interviewing: "Just answer the question, Jeremy: yes or no?"
Speaking during a debate on BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday September 3 about the Lake District's bid for World Heritage Status, Mr Paxman said: "Blaenavon is one of these heritage sites!”
He added that people “have heard a lot more about the Lake District than they have Blaenavon".
Stephen Bull, landlord of the Castle Hotel, said: “I was watching it with my wife. I thought it was a bit shameful - a lot of people know of Blaenavon. I have even been to Turkey and people knew Blaenavon.”
Susan Fiand-Woodhouse, owner of Blaenafon Cheddar, said: “My teenagers weren’t very impressed. If Jeremy were to come and visit, we’d take him to Pwll Ddu to see the views and the Keeper’s Pond, and take him down Big Pit and for some cheese tasting.”
Craig Davies, 23, said: “Cheeky b******! It’s quite an ignorant thing to say, considering we built a lot of the modern world.”
His friend Tom Howells, 21, agreed, saying he would be happy for Mr Paxman to visit: “I’d get one of the old boys to show him round.”
But Miriam Thomas, 53, said: “We have got heritage status but it’s done nothing for the town itself, really.”
A Torfaen Council spokesman said: “The great and good of world politics have been cut down to size by the razor sharp challenge of Mr Paxman, but his perceived belittling of Blaenavon created quite a stir on our social media so we felt a light hearted video showing glimpses of the town's many attractions with an invitation to visit would be the best response.”
You can watch Torfaen Council’s video on our website here:
A spokesman for Newsnight said: "In a discussion about World Heritage sites, Jeremy made the point that more people will have heard of the Lake District than Blaenavon but he didn’t express an opinion about either place.
"Newsnight doesn't doubt that Blaenavon is a lovely place to visit."
Mr Paxman has not yet advised if he plans to accept the invitation.
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