Jim Naughtie bowed out today after 21 years presenting Today on Radio 4

Jim Naughtie bowed out of the Today programme after 21 years on the flagship BBC Radio 4 show.

The veteran broadcaster was greeted with tributes from politicians and fellow journalists as he presented the show for the final time.

Naughtie, who is leaving to become a special correspondent for the station, has said he will not miss the alarm going off at 2.59am on mornings he presents the show but admitted he would "long for the camaraderie of the studio".

The show's Twitter feed said: "After 21 years, James Naughtie is presenting his last Today programme this morning. We're going to miss you Jim."

Shadow cabinet minister Diane Abbott tweeted: "Listening to Jim Naughtie presenting @BBCr4today for the last time. Can't believe it has been 21 years."

In a Mail on Sunday article ahead of his last appearance on the show, Naughtie wrote: "I won't miss the alarm going off at 2.59am. But I confess that I'll sometimes long for the camaraderie of the studio, where you never know what will happen next."

He added: "No other programme has a wider window on the world, nor so much intimacy. Listeners are stirring in their beds – and so are the political classes. They're anxious to get on the air, except when you want them most."

Despite his vast experience, Naughtie has made the occasional on-air slip during his time on the live show – memorably getting into an embarrassing mix-up over the name of Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt in 2010.

He accidentally turned the air blue by replacing the first letter of Mr Hunt's surname with a ''C''.

The on-air stumble sent the broadcaster into a coughing fit, and attracted a slew of emails from listeners who were either amused or angry.

Recalling the moment in the Mail on Sunday, Naughtie said: "The transposition of two initials meant that within two minutes, in Twitter-time an age, I was an object of national notoriety (and considerable amusement). I can still see the emails and tweets cascading down the screens in the office from listeners who couldn't believe what they'd heard (but mostly hoped they had). My most mortifying moment by a mile."

Last month the BBC apologised after Naughtie crashed the pips by swearing.

On the final beep of the time signal the presenter was heard to whisper "shit" before launching into the news headlines.

Former prime minister John Major said on Today this morning: "I'll miss you. I will do so because generally you've asked the right questions, mostly you've listened to the answers, and you've done so in an extraordinarily professional way."



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.

No comments to display

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *