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John Humphrys has lost touch with the times. He’s right to call it a day

5 27 44
07.02.2019

On the morning it emerged that John Humphrys would leave the Today programme this year after fronting it for 32 years, there were a few moments right at the end that may have reminded some of his listeners why they had longed for that day to come.

There was the faintly incredulous tone with which Humphrys enunciated the words of “heal and shine”, used in a tweet by Yoko Ono. Then there was the moment he effortlessly patronised another young woman, student convenor Ellie Kinney – who, among other things, is a campaigner against nuclear weapons. Humphrys told her she had some “worthy ideas” and asked her if her activism “made her feel better”, adding, “that’s not intended to be insulting”. Classic Humphrys, delivered with a slight undertone of contempt towards anything smacking of idealism.

It should be said that Humphrys, the son of a Welsh hairdresser and who left school at 15, has had many highs in a distinguished journalistic career. He was the first reporter on the scene at the Aberfan disaster in 1966. His demolition of former BBC director general George Entwistle – Humphrys’ effective boss at the time – over Jimmy Savile, was forensic and fearless. Fellow BBC radio presenter Libby Purves wrote in the Daily Mail, which broke the story of Humphrys’ departure, that he was the........

© The Guardian