John Humphrys to host his final edition of Radio 4 Today programme

John Humphrys in the Today programme studio

Broadcaster John Humphrys is to current his final edition of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday.

Humphrys’ departure will convey to a detailed his 32 years on the flagship present, throughout which period he constructed a repute as a tenacious interrogator.

“Losing John in the mornings is a bit like Big Ben being silenced,” stated Today editor Sarah Sands.

“I will miss his restlessness, his capacity for delight, his profound curiosity and his humanity.”

Humphrys interviewed each prime minister on the programme from Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May, however has not grilled Boris Johnson since he got here to energy.

The 76-year-old will proceed to current Mastermind on BBC Two.

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Media captionHumphrys introduced his departure earlier this yr

Before becoming a member of Today in 1987, Humphrys labored as a BBC overseas correspondent in each the US and Africa, as a diplomatic correspondent and as a presenter of the Nine O’Clock News.

On the every day Radio 4 morning information programme, he grew to become recognized for pinning down political leaders and public figures and drawing revelations out of them.

On event, his interviewing model incurred the ire of each politicians and listeners.

When he introduced his departure in February, Humphrys stated: “I like doing the programme. I’ve at all times loved it.

Image caption Humphrys will keep behind the Mastermind host’s desk

“That’s the issue. I ought to have gone years in the past. Obviously I ought to have gone years in the past.”

He is Today’s longest-serving presenter and has been one of the company’s highest earners.

His wage in 2016-17 was between £600,000-649,999, however he took a pay reduce and went down to £290,000-£294,999 in 2018-19.

In a tribute within the Radio Times, Today co-presenter Justin Webb stated: “There are loads who don’t love him, who assume he’s gone on too lengthy, who need him ‘pensioned off’ or ‘put out of his distress’ or regardless of the phrase is that they use to counsel that being a person in his 70s on air is someway an affront.

“Most of these folks would see themselves as impeccable anti-sexists and anti-racists, but ageism is alive and well and apparently deeply acceptable in the anti-John movement.”

Image caption Humphrys after interviewing Tony Blair in 2005

Webb stated Humphrys, in contrast to some presenters, would discuss to individuals in any respect ranges of the BBC.

“When John arrived [at Today]… he would talk to anyone. Shout at them, too. Throw things, even,” stated Webb. “But they usually missed, and he always said sorry.”

He additionally informed the journal: “John would not give a stuff what you assume of him. He is bemused when Jon Snow of Channel 4 News talks of his followers on-line. Why would John need followers?

“John needs enemies, or a minimum of for respect, when it’s paid, to be paid solely grudgingly.”

Speaking on Desert Island Discs in 2008, Humphrys stated he didn’t assume most politicians intentionally informed lies on the programme.

But he stated: “I do begin with the idea that they’re there for his or her profit, reasonably than essentially for the profit of the viewers. And it is my job typically to attempt to get them to be a bit extra candid than maybe they meant to be.”

Image caption Humphrys with co-host Sue MacGregor within the Today manufacturing workplace in 1993

Six of Humphrys’ most memorable (and controversial) interviews

  • He stated his first interview with a primary minister – with Margaret Thatcher in 1987 – was “a very scary prospect”. But he showed his knack for getting insights into politicians’ characters when he asked about the link between her Christian faith and her politics. “How are you able to specific unselfish love when you have no selection?” she said. “The basic selection is the precise to select between good and evil.”
  • Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken accused Humphrys of “poisoning the well of democratic debate” in 1995 after saying he had interrupted Chancellor Kenneth Clarke 32 instances. But Humphrys obtained assist from different ministers and the Daily Mail, which known as him “one of the most brilliant journalists in the country”. The subsequent time Clarke appeared on Today, Humphrys gave him a calculator to rely what number of instances he was interrupted.
  • Labour director of communications Dave Hill spoke publicly of “the John Humphrys problem” after the presenter’s strong confrontation with social safety secretary Harriet Harman about plans to scale back funds to single moms in 1997.
  • An early-morning three-minute interview with correspondent Andrew Gilligan in 2003 led to a confrontation between the BBC and the federal government. Gilligan stated he had been informed by a dependable supply {that a} authorities file concerning the menace from Iraqi chief Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been intentionally “sexed up”. This in the end led to the suicide of the supply, Dr David Kelly, and the resignations of Gilligan, the BBC director basic and the BBC chairman.
  • Humphrys hastened the downfall of one other director basic, George Entwistle, in 2012 with a interview about how Newsnight wrongly implicated a former Conservative deputy chairman in a baby abuse scandal. Entwistle, who struggled badly and appeared out of his depth, resigned the subsequent day.
  • Humphrys obtained into scorching water for a leaked off-air change concerning the BBC’s gender pay hole with North America editor Jon Sopel in 2018. It adopted the resignation of Carrie Gracie as BBC China editor over pay inequality. In what Humphrys described as a “jokey” change, he requested Sopel about “how much of your salary you are prepared to hand over to Carrie Gracie to keep her”.

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