Former Today editor Rod Liddle has given his take on why presenter Ed Stourton has been sacked to make way for Justin Webb.
Stourton’s sacking – which he found out about when a journalist called him up to ask him about it – has prompted claims he has been dumped for being too posh.
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Writing in the Sunday Times, Liddle says Sourton was “foisted” on him back in 1999 when he was Today editor. Stourton was at the time presenting the One O’Clock News.
Liddle reveals that Stourton was sacked from the One to make way, again, for Justin Webb.
And that despite initial animosity, he found him to be a “superb journalist” – but who never quite made it to the top tier on Today – managing only up to 120 freelance shifts a year, compared to the 170 to 200 each which Liddle says top presenters John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie rack up.
Liddle believes the decision to axe Stourton would have been made “collegiately” between a handful of the BBC’s most senior editorial managers, including: head of new Helen Boaden, Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, head of radio news Steve Mitchell and Today editor Ceri Thomas.
Liddle reckons Stourton will end up continuing to present the Today programme from time to time and also get other high profile work at the Beeb to make him “shut up and be nice”.