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John Humphrys

John Humphrys on Today

John Humphrys is the longest-serving presenter of the Today programme and has built a reputation as one of Britain's toughest interviewers and most respected journalists.

John's interviews on Today have occasionally attracted criticism from politicians, among them Jonathan Aitken, who in March 1995 accused him of "poisoning the well of democratic debate".

Most listeners - and most senior politicians - begged to differ.

He was defended in the media too. The Daily Mail called him "one of the most brilliant journalists in the country". The Guardian called him a national institution.

He has won many awards over the years, including Sony Golds (the Oscars of the industry) for lifetime achievement and journalist of the year.

Early Career

John began his career in journalism as a cub reporter on the Penarth Times after leaving school at the age of 15.

In 1966, he joined the BBC as the north-west correspondent and a year later became northern industrial correspondent. From Manchester he moved to London as a television reporter.

John Humphrys in 1977
John Humphrys as a television correspondent in 1977

At 28, he became the BBC's first full-time television correspondent in the United States and the youngest television foreign correspondent. He covered Watergate and the resignation of President Nixon.

In 1977 he moved to South Africa to open a new BBC bureau, covering among other events the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe.

Back in Britain

He returned to London in 1980 and took up the post of BBC diplomatic correspondent.

In 1981 John joined the Nine O'Clock News team as its main presenter before moving to the Today programme in 1987.

For almost 10 years he presented BBC One's former weekly political programme, On the Record. He also presents On the Ropes on Radio 4 and Mastermind on BBC One.

He has also written five books - with two more on the way.


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