Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys has said he could he could step down “next week”, “next month” or “next year”.
He was speaking to The Times as he approaches the 30th anniversary of his first appearance on Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme.
While he was vague about when exactly he would step down, he said that it was “extremely unlikely” that he would still be in post at the time of the next UK general election in three and half years time.
He told the paper: “I’d rather jump than be pushed. I want to go when I make the decision – that might be next week.”
Despite the 3am starts, Humphrys told The Times he still enjoys his job: “Sometimes the programme they present you with at 4am is just absolutely brilliant and you think, ‘Wow.’ But mostly it’s not. So you have a moan and a whinge and then after half an hour you think, ‘Actually, I’m bloody lucky doing this.’ Most mornings at some point I think, ‘God this is fun.’ Don’t tell them, but I would do it for nothing.”
Humphrys said he finds it “deeply troubling” that journalists are increasingly unable to fulfil their watchdog role of holding people to account.
He said: “It’s much more difficult, because newspapers can’t afford the same size of investigative teams. And because it’s easier for big business to take us for a ride.”
Humphrys also said he would like to see a woman edit Today next and described the dearth of women news presenters his age as “absolutely bonkers”.
He said: “Do we regard women of 40 as past it? Well, we’ve got a bit beyond that, but not enough beyond it. It is preposterous that people like Anna Ford – or whoever, you can pluck any name; Joan Bakewell is a good example – aren’t still there. Absolutely bonkers.”