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John Humphrys to leave Radio 4 Today programme by year's end

BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter John Humphrys is looking to leave the show by the end of the year.

Today editor Sarah Sands tweeted this year would be Humphrys’ “lap of honour” and his former Today colleague, now World at One presenter, Sarah Montague, also confirmed his departure.

Humphrys, who has been with Today for more than 30 years, first told the Daily Mail about his plans to leave the show after speaking with BBC bosses.

He told the paper he had not handed in his resignation and did not have a fixed date for his departure, but said he was “assuming it’ll be this year”.

“It’s not like I’m an ambitious youngster with many, many more challenges ahead of me or something like that,” he said.

“I still enjoy it enormously. I know that sounds ridiculous. There are mornings in mid-February when you don’t want to get up at half past three. But, equally, there are other things I want to do with my life, and one has to make the decision sooner or later.”

Following the story, Sands tweeted: “Enjoy John’s lap of honour this year. Totally uninterested in his own publicity. A king of broadcasting. And long live Mishal.”

Sarah Montague also tweeted: “He couldn’t cope without me! John Humphrys is leaving BBC Radio 4 Today. I spoke to him when he came off air this morning. You can hear the full interview on BBC World at One.

Later, speaking to Montague on World at One, Humphrys confirmed he was looking to leave this year and said: “I love doing the programme. I have always enjoyed it, always loved it and obviously I should have gone years ago but I love doing the programme.”

He added: “I worry about missing the programme. I genuinely worry about what it is going to be like not doing the Today programme – 32 years is a very long time.”

The BBC did not comment on the claims when approached by Press Gazette.

Humphrys is working on a book about the show due later this year, titled The Today Files, and told the Mail that it would be “a factor” in his going.

The veteran broadcaster joined the BBC as a Liverpool-based reporter in 1966 and worked as a foreign correspondent and its first full-time TV correspondent based in the USA before moving onto Today in 1987.

Humphrys has also presented the Nine o’clock news, flagship investigations show Panorama and BBC Two quiz show Mastermind during his time at the BBC.

After it was revealed in 2017 that Humphrys was one of the broadcaster’s highest-earning on-air talents – making up to £650,000 a year – he agreed to take a pay cut along with five other male journalists.

An off-air conversation between Humphrys and North American editor Jon Sopel was leaked to the press early last year in which they exchanged what he described as “silly banter” about the gender pay gap.

Picture: BBC

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