TOUGH talking Jeremy Paxman felt right at home digging the dirt during a visit to Bovington’s Tank Museum.

The BBC Newsnight presenter and University Chall-enge host volunteered to ‘break the earth’ on the museum’s latest project – a huge 40,000sq ft conservation centre.

This state-of-the-art building, part of an ongoing £5million museum upgrade, will be capable of housing 120 historic fighting vehicles when completed next autumn.

Mr Paxman, who has left many politicians squirming over the years, was at the museum filming a documentary on the First World War when he agreed to help out.

Museum spokesman Nik Wyness said: “The presenter, renowned for calling a spade a spade, volunteered to ‘break the earth’ on The Tank Museum’s latest building project.”

Earlier this year the museum received £2.5m of National Lottery cash.

Museum director Richard Smith described the donation as a “pivotal moment in the history of The Tank Museum”.

“With more space we will be able to put our plans for a rolling programme of new exhibitions into action,” he said. “We will also have the facilities to enable ongoing volunteer-led conservation projects and allow us to re-launch our award-winning engineering training programme for groups of young offenders.”

The Tank Museum will have to raise a further £2.5m to match fund the Heritage Lottery Fund’s contribution. Building work has now started on the Vehicle Conservation Centre.