Evan Davis bids a fumbled farewell to Radio 4’s Today programme

BBC broadcaster Evan Davis presented his final Today programme this morning, before beginning his new television role at Newsnight next Monday

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Evan Davis will be enjoying a long lie-in this weekend, after making his final early morning appearance on Radio 4’s Today programme.

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The presenter has left the show after it was announced earlier in the year that he would be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on BBC2’s Newsnight.

While remaining admirably professional for most of this morning’s programme, Davis ended with a well-timed stumbled sign-off, telling listeners, “Have a great night… day.” 

Fellow presenters paid tribute to the 52-year-old’s time on the programme, prompting Davis to remind them, “I’m only going half way across the third floor!”

Davis will begin his new job at Newsnight almost immediately, stating on Twitter that he will be making his first appearance on the BBC2 late-night current affairs programme this Monday, 29th September.

The newest Radio 4 Today presenter, Mishal Husain, paid a tongue-in-cheek tribute to her fellow Today presenter, revealing the “golden rules” she had learned from Davis, including the sage advice, “Know what sex Lady Gaga is.” The full segment is available below.

Davis said of his time on the flagship current affairs show: “It has been such a privilege to work here. You get to interview such interesting people. I’ve had the Dalai Lama to Jay Z.

“I tell you what: this programme is not about the presenters,” he added. “Justin [Webb, fellow Today presenter] and I know this extremely well, because I frequently get tweets and emails that demonstrate people have completely confused the two of us.”

He praised the people who had worked with him since April 2008, saying, “This programme is also about the staff, and I think most listeners would be amazed at how few people there are sitting in the office when we get in, putting this programme together. They do a stoic and heroic job. We are armed with these things called briefs, which, if you ever think we sound awfully clever, have actually not been put together by us.

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“It’s a great pity to leave,” he added. “I thought that if I had had another year or two I might just have mastered the art of telling the time accurately.”