Nick Robinson to replace Jim Naughtie as Today presenter

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson is joining the flagship Radio 4 Today Programme to replace Jim Naughtie who announced his departure this week.

Robinson, who recently took time off to recover from a lung cancer diagnosis, will start on air from autumn with his replacement yet to be announced.

The journalist, who has spent a decade fronting the BBC's political coverage, has a personal connection to the show – his best friend growing up was the son of former Today presenter Brian Redhead.

Robinson has described Redhead as his "inspiration" growing up and spoken openly about the car crash that killed two of his friends including Redhead's son Will.

He said: "I cannot remember a time when my morning did not begin with Today – the programme – setting the nation's agenda.

"As a child it was the sound not just of the latest news and the sharpest comment but also of my best friend's dad, Brian Redhead, who inspired my love of radio. Brian relished the opportunity to 'drop a word in the nation's ear'.

"I'm delighted that all these years later I am being given the chance to sit in what was his chair.

"For the past 21 years, ever since Brian's death, Jim Naughtie has charmed and stimulated Radio 4 listeners with his unique combination of political insights, passion for the arts and brilliant front-line reporting.

"It's a real honour to be chosen to succeed him. I will miss my privileged perch inside Parliament and outside Downing Street but after a decade as political editor I'm looking forward to hearing someone else's analysis of what our politicians are up to."

Robinson, who is still having chemotherapy after surgery to remove a tumour in March, will take some time off after this week's budget coverage.

BBC director-general Tony Hall said he had been a "tireless and inquisitive, acute and open-minded" political editor.

It has been widely reported the BBC will use his move to promote a female journalist to one of its most high profile jobs with Newsnight's Laura Kuenssberg and Channel 4 News' Cathy Newman regarded as among the front-runners.

Previous holders of the post include Andrew Marr and John Cole.

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