Don’t go Evan! Today editor tried to persuade Evan Davis not to defect to Newsnight

"He is the most important presenter in the last four or five years in terms of making Today more modern and relevant to a wider age range of audiences,” said Jamie Angus

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Jamie Angus, the editor of Radio 4’s Today programme, has admitted that he tried his best to persuade host Evan Davis to stay on the show.

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Davis bid farewell at the end of his final edition on Friday morning, after almost six years in the job. 

Angus revealed at a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch on Thursday that he was “disappointed” that Davis had decided to leave the morning news berth on Today for Jeremy Paxman’s former job as Newsnight’s main anchor.

“Clearly I didn’t want Evan to leave;” said Angus. “I thought it would be better that he stayed and wanted him to stay and I made my arguments to him as part of that. But I have no complaints about how the decision was taken.

“I wanted him to stay. I can see exactly why Newsnight wanted him, I am sorry he is leaving but I think he will do a great job for them.

“It’s a very sad day. I am disappointed he is not going to be presenting for us. I like Evan. He is the most important presenter in the last four or five years in terms of changing the sound of Today and making it sound more modern and relevant to a wider age range of audiences.”

Davis begins work at Newsnight on Monday, reporting from the Conservative Party Conference.

Angus is not replacing Davis directly and is spreading the extra work out among the remaining five presenters, who include James Naughtie, John Humphrys and Mishal Husain.

This decision is likely to fuel speculation that the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson is in line to join the programme after the 2015 general election.

Asked by RadioTimes.com whether Robinson is being groomed for a presenting role on the show, Angus said with a smile: “Lots of people want to present Today.”

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Angus also disclosed that he wants Today to attract a younger audience.