John Humphrys has revealed he is “assuming” he will leave BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this year after more than three decades on the show.
The veteran broadcaster, who is 75, has hosted the BBC’s flagship news show for 32 years.
“I’m assuming it’ll be this year,” said Humphrys. “That’s what I’m assuming, but I haven’t fixed a date… It’s not easy to leave a job you’ve been doing for 32 years. It’s more than half my professional life.”
Humphrys added that he had previously believed he would carry on presenting the Today programme “either until they threw me out or had enough of me, or that I’d got bored of it or stopped enjoying it, but none of those things have happened”.
“I still enjoy it enormously,” he told the Daily Mail. “I know that sounds ridiculous. There are mornings in mid-February when you don’t want to get up at half past three. But, equally, there are other things I want to do with my life, and one has to make the decision sooner or later.”
The story of Humphry’s planned departure broke late on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning a guest on the Today programme made reference to the news. Guardian journalist Zoe Williams said “Good morning John, sorry to hear you’re leaving” to which a flustered Humphrys replied, seemingly in jest: “Oh! All these stories got up by the press. You can’t believe a word you read.”
Humphrys joined the Today programme in 1987, and he has covered the administrations of six different prime ministers during his time on the show.
He is one of the BBC’s highest-paid stars, having earned between £600,000 and £650,000 in the year to April 2017 for his work on Today and Mastermind roles. He agreed to take a substantial pay cut in the wake of the BBC gender pay row.
His planned departure follows Sarah Montague leaving the programme in 2018 to swap roles with the World at One host Martha Kearney.
When Humphrys leaves Today, it could open up a presenting slot on the show alongside fellow hosts Mishal Husain, Martha Kearney, Nick Robinson and Justin Webb.