John Humphrys: 'Forensic' and 'grouchy' host 'will be much missed'


John Humphrys waved goodbye to the BBC on Friday after 32 years

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Celebrities and politicians have given a mixed reaction to the departure from the airwaves of Radio 4 Today presenter John Humphrys.

The longstanding Today programme host has bid farewell with his final show.

He’s been praised online for “bravely” holding politicians to account on the current affairs programme, as well as being labelled “annoying”.

The broadcaster, 76, is leaving after 32 years.

Comedian and Today listener Kathy Burke joked: “I’ve never been married but being furious with John Humphrys at least three out of five days every other week has felt like I was.

“Think I’m gonna miss the miserable old git. Good luck to him.”

Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker called him “one of the great broadcasters”.

Entrepreneur and former “dragon” Theo Paphitis from the BBC show Dragons’ Den added it had been an “emotional morning”.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who has had many a heated debate with Humphrys down the years, thanked him for his “huge contribution to public service broadcasting in our country”, while admitting “at times I could have brained you for your interruptions”.

“Your forensic interviews held us all to account enhancing our political debate,” he added. “Have a great retirement”.

Anna Soubry MP, the leader of the Independent Group for Change, also paid tribute despite finding him “occasionally annoying”.

Speaking to the BBC’s David Sillito after Humphrys’ last show, his former colleague Sue MacGregor admitted the famously irascible broadcaster could be “grouchy” but praised “the absolutely forensic way in which he interviews politicians”.

The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg declared it’s “been a privilege” working with him.

Many more of the broadcaster’s BBC colleagues and friends have been lining up to praise “The Master”, describing today as a “sad” occasion.

Elsewhere, Piers Morgan labelled Humphrys as “the greatest radio interrogator of them all”.

His ITV colleague Robert Peston noted: “You care about the craft in the way that not enough do”.

Meanwhile Sky’s Kay Burley also said she would miss him, urging the outgoing presenter to enjoy a lie-in after decades of early wake-ups on the current affairs breakfast show.

However, it’s fair to say not everybody was sad to see the back of the often divisive presenter.

Former Labour transport secretary Andrew Adonis declared he is “delighted that John Humphrys is leaving the Today programme.”

Telegraph journalist Michael Deacon was clearly not a fan of Humphrys’ interviewing technique.

And campaigner Nicky Clark claimed that no departing female presenter would receive so much fanfare, saying: “I’m not sure this would happen to a woman. Ultimately I’m sure it wouldn’t.”

Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett tweeted she “won’t say anything” about Humphrys’ departure.

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