Throwing out the desk Newsnight presenters used to sit behind was supposed to make the BBC's flagship current affairs programme more dynamic and "relevant".

However, Emily Maitlis says putting her legs on display has left her at the mercy of cameramen taking shots that risk revealing her underwear.

In comments that could provoke a new sexism row at the BBC, Maitlis compares the cameramen's work to that of peeping Toms trying to take seedy 'upskirt' photographs, reports Daily Mail.

"The hardest thing is sitting on a Newsnight chair because the camera, before you know it, has gone on the floor and it’s creeping, creeping up." Photo / BBC

"The hardest thing is sitting on a Newsnight chair because the camera, before you know it, has gone on the floor and it's creeping, creeping up," says Cambridge graduate Maitlis, 47.

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"It's like those pap shots in the back of a cab where you never know if they're going to get your knickers."

Maitlis, who was outspoken in her criticism of the BBC's treatment of women during the gender pay gap row, has resorted to using sheets of notepaper to protect her modesty.

"And so you have to say: 'Please . . . high . . . the camera.'

"Or else you start doing things with A4 paper where you spread it over your knees and you wrap A4 paper around your thighs, which is obviously what all newsreaders do.

"You have to cover all the . . . you know . . . because you never know where the angle is coming from."

Cameramen's angles are not Maitlis's only complaint about presenting Newsnight. Speaking to her BBC colleagues Fi Glover and Jane Garvey on their podcast Fortunately . . . she says the show's dark set leaves her feeling like a "werewolf".

"I know it's radical in the BBC, but I want something beautiful and brightly lit," says Maitlis. "I spent a lot of time in the U.S. and everyone feels so 'telly' and alive, and you don't feel like a werewolf."