Alongside the Today programme and the cerebral quiz, John has examined the dependency culture and chaired The Education Debates. After dinner he invites guests to turn the tables and grill him; he’s often asked about politicians’ flagrant misuse of the English language.
As anchor on the Today programme, John Humphrys is one of the most distinctive and best-loved voices on Radio. He also presents On The Ropes, and BBC2’s long-running quiz Mastermind. Unusually for a journalist, he has been described as a national treasure.
John was once the BBC’s youngest ever foreign correspondent. He set up bureaux in South Africa and the US, covering Nixon’s resignation and the birth of Zimbabwe. He went on to present the Nine O’Clock News and the flagship political discussion, On The Record.
John became a controversial figure when he was attacked for his style of interviewing by Jonathan Aitken, then a Cabinet Minister. The BBC was swamped with letters and phone calls, more than 90% of which were in support of Humphrys. Other politicians and public figures rose to his defence, as did newspapers of all persuasions.
Outside his broadcasting career, John Humphrys has published numerous books. In Devil’s Advocate, he looked at the social climate and future scenarios for the nation’s growth. The Great Food Gamble stemmed from his interest in organic farming. He also writes extensively on another subject very close to his heart - the misuse and abuse of the English language.
John is a highly experienced conference chair. He also offers audiences the chance to turn the tables and grill him as part of his after dinner speech, in which he might also reveal how the Queen has repeatedly declined his requests for an interview.
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The nation's foremost interviewer brings a lighter touch than you might imagine when chairing company or industry conferences or hosting awards ceremonies. His gravitas and credibility however mean that delegates can be assured that their event is not being overtly stage managed nor participants spoon fed - and woe betide anyone who might think that is the case. JLA Agent Tom Mclaughlin