Humphrys nearly quit BBC over ban

John Humphrys almost quit the BBC after it ordered its journalists to stop writing for newspapers and magazines in the wake of the Hutton Report.

Writing in his final column for The Sunday Times, he called the ban on high-profile BBC journalists writing on current affairs “absurd”.

“It seemed to me then, and seems to me now, an absurd edict. I was tempted to pack my bags, throw away my six alarm clocks and start leading a normal life again,” he wrote. “In the end I agreed to stop writing a regular column.

Like my colleagues I was given a choice: you write for newspapers or you work for the BBC; you can no longer do both as you have been doing.”

The BBC is allowing the journalists to complete existing contracts. It is understood Feargal Keane’s Independent column ends this week. Jeff Randall’s final Sunday Telegraph column appeared on 28 March. The paper would not comment on when John Simpson’s contract ends.

By Wale Azeez

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