Will 29 February mark an end to Eddie Mair and Robert Peston’s feud?

Can a bit of leap year magic help the BBC presenters patch up their differences live on air?

It’s a special day today. An extra day in the calendar that comes around only once every four years. A day to do something out of the ordinary, like proposing to your man (if you’re a woman), getting a tattoo (if you’re sure!) or patching up a broken relationship (if you’re Eddie Mair or Robert Peston).


Writing in the new issue of Radio Times, Mair, the host of Radio 4’s PM show, says it’s time for him to “carpe extra diem” (seize the extra day) and attempt to bring an end to his long-running feud with  BBC business editor Robert Peston…

Their first public grudge match seems to have erupted on the PM show in January 2011 when Mair read out a headline from the Financial Times reporting that the government was retreating on the issue of bonuses, only to be accused by Peston of having ignored his scoop on the story a week previously. 

On that occasion, the argument degenerated into a squabble about Peston’s mobile phone being switched on during the programme. 

The rowing resumed last November, again on PM, when Peston accused Mair of having cast him “out into the wilderness” despite what he had believed to have been an earlier “rapprochement”.

This afternoon, the pair are going to attempt a reconciliation once again as Peston co-presents PM with Mair, live, for an entire hour.

It’s a development listeners are likely to welcome. Following previous on-air spats, many took to Twitter to express just how much they’d enjoyed the badinage. 

“Loved the ‘banter’ between Eddie Mair and Peston on PM,” tweeted one. 

“Do think Eddie Mair and Peston should just be given their own show. just them sniping at each other, without the news getting in the way,” said another.

Well this afternoon they get their wish (although there’s still a chance the arguments will be interrupted by the occasional new story). Perhaps there really is something magical about this extra day after all…


Find out for yourself whether the 29 February really can work its magic on Mair and Peston in PM at 5pm on Radio 4