The most startling headline this year? He may have been able to handle Nick Griffin, but David Dimbleby has fallen foul of a bullock. For the first time since he began presenting Question Time in 1994, the avuncular Dimbleby will miss tonight's show after being knocked out by a bull on his farm in Sussex. The rather curmudgeonly John Humphrys will replace him in the chair.
A BBC spokesman said: "David was loading a bullock on to a trailer when the bullock reared, resulting in David being briefly knocked out. He also received a cut to the head that required stitches."
Dimbleby is recovering at Eastbourne District General Hospital, where he was kept in for observation. Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: "I haven't missed a Question Time in over 15 years. Trust my wife's bullock to take me out.
"I'll be giving bullocks a wide berth in the future."
The broadcaster isn't the first public figure to fall foul of pugnacious cattle this year. In June, David Blunkett suffered a broken rib when he was hit by a stampeding cow in Derbyshire.
The words of William Boot from Evelyn Waugh's comic novel Scoop come to mind:
There was something un-English and not quite right about "the country", with its solitude and self-sufficiency, its bloody recreations, its darkness and silence and sudden, inexplicable noises; the kind of place where you never know from one minute to the next that you may not be tossed by a bull or pitchforked by a yokel or rolled over and broken up by a pack of hounds.