Page last updated at 22:53 GMT, Thursday, 12 November 2009

David Dimbleby injured by bullock

David Dimbleby
The presenter will return to host the programme next week

David Dimbleby has missed chairing BBC One's Question Time for the first time in more than 15 years after being injured by a bullock at his farm.

The 71-year-old was loading the bullock onto a trailer in Folkington, Sussex, when the animal reared and caused him briefly to be knocked out.

He also received a cut to the head that required stitches at a local hospital.

Dimbleby, who remains in hospital for observation, was replaced on the show by John Humphrys.

"I haven't missed a Question Time in over 15 years," Dimbleby said.

"Trust my wife's bullock to take me out. I'll be giving bullocks a wide berth in future," he added.

The BBC stressed the presenter's stay in hospital was just a precaution, and is not unusual for a patient suffering concussion.

He is recovering well and should return home shortly.

Dimbleby has chaired Question Time since January 1994. He is expected to be back hosting the show next week.

As the cameras started rolling for the recording of Thursday's show, Humphrys told the audience: "If you are highly observant, you will have noticed that I am not David Dimbleby. He has had an encounter with a bullock and he came off worst."

John Humphrys explains David Dimbleby's absence

The panel included Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward, Shadow Security Minister Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, Lib Dem communities and local government spokesman Julia Goldsworthy, writer Will Self and Olympic champion rower James Cracknell.

Mr Woodward asked Humphrys to stop interrupting as he was answering a question on Afghanistan, telling him: "This is a bit like doing the 10 past eight slot with you in the morning," a reference to the presenter's regular job on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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