Humphrys admits he ‘should have gone years ago’ as he quits Today
PUBLISHED: 15:50 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 06 February 2019
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John Humphrys, who has been criticised for his handling of Brexit coverage on the Today programme, has announced he will quit the show after 32 years.
The veteran broadcaster, 75, announced he planned to quit the programme but had not yet set a date for his departure.
Speaking to the World At One said: “I love doing the programme, I have always enjoyed it, always loved it. And I still do, that’s the problem.
“I should have gone years ago, obviously I should have gone years ago, but I love doing the programme.
“As you know, when you do this programme it dominates your life, not just because you have to get up in the morning so many days a week, but all the time, you have to be obsessed - I think that is the right word - with what’s going on out there.”
“You have to read everything and listen to everything and all the rest of it. There are so many things you think ‘oh I could have done this, I could have done that’ and I’m never going to do them if I stay on this programme.”
Humphrys joined Today in January 1987, alongside Brian Redhead, and has spent 32 years with the broadcaster.
He has been criticised by Remainers for his handling of some of the major Brexit stories, with some believing his personal opinions have interfered with the political balance of the programme.
The Irish deputy prime minister recently claimed on-air that Humphrys had become a spokesman for Boris Johnson for his line of questioning.
The day after Johnson resigned Humphrys fumed that “we are becoming a colony... what we’re doing is kow-towing to Brussels even before they’ve made any demands... we’re giving away everything.”
But he dismissed the criticisms of his presenting style saying that “he couldn’t care less” and said had not paid attention to online reaction to his decision to leave.
He told Radio 4: “The honest answer is I really couldn’t care less. Some people are going to like me, some people are not going to like me. If it’s marginally in my favour, that would be nice.
“I’m not sure I would like me if I was listening to me for heaven’s sake.
“There’s no law that says you have to be liked in this business, so long as you do your job competently.”
Fran Unsworth, BBC director of News and Current Affairs, said: “For more than 30 years John Humphrys has been a stalwart of Today. It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that anyone who’s played a key role in the political events of the last three decades has been interviewed by John.
“But most importantly, he has always been a champion of his listeners, holding the powerful to account on their behalf.
“John will be sorely missed by audiences and his colleagues when he leaves the programme this year - if perhaps less so by the politicians he interviews.”