John Humphrys presents Today programme for final time

Broadcaster John Humphrys will be able to enjoy a lie-in after presenting the Today programme for a final time on Thursday.

Humphrys will bow out of the early morning BBC Radio 4 programme after 32 years.

But the broadcaster, 76, has no intention of retiring, continuing to host BBC Two quiz show Mastermind.

Humphrys, who has a reputation as a fearsome interviewer, announced in February that he planned to quit the current affairs show.

John Humphrys arriving at the Broadcasting Press Guild Television & Radio Awards
John Humphrys arriving at the Broadcasting Press Guild Television & Radio Awards (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I should have gone years ago, obviously I should have gone years ago,” he said at the time, “but I love doing the programme.

“When you do this programme it dominates your life, not just because you have to get up in the morning so many days a week, but all the time, you have to be obsessed – I think that is the right word – with what’s going on out there.”

Humphrys joined Today in January 1987, alongside Brian Redhead, but continued to work on other BBC news programmes.

He has sparked controversy with his interviews over the years and co-host Justin Webb recently said many of Humphrys’s most vociferous critics are ageist.

“There are plenty who don’t like him, who think he’s gone on too long, who want him ‘pensioned off’ or ‘put out of his misery’ or whatever the phrase is they use to suggest that being a man in his 70s on air is somehow an affront,” Webb told Radio Times magazine.

“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.”

Humphrys took a pay cut as part of the controversy over the gender pay row at the BBC, from around £600,000 to around £290,000.

He started work at the BBC in 1966 and worked as a foreign correspondent in the US and South Africa.

The Welsh broadcaster returned to London in 1980 to become a diplomatic correspondent and a year later was promoted to main presenter of the now defunct Nine O’Clock News.

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