Why we should heed John Humphrys’ sign-off from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme – leader comment

John Humphrys gained a reputation for asking the toughest of tough questions in his 32 years on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

John Humphrys has left BBC Radio 4's Today programme after 32 years (Picture: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire)

Sometimes, it’s fair to say that he did go over the top and he could outrage even the most dedicated of his listeners.

Actor and comedian Kathy Burke tweeted that she had 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.”

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She added a love heart.

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Once, politicians had to get on Today to get their message across. But the advent of social media means that there are ways to do this while avoiding the tough questions of Humphrys and others like him. And that’s bad news for democracy.

Humphrys voiced this concern as he bowed out, noting that Boris Johnson had not been on the show since becoming Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn had been absent for almost three years.

Perhaps we need to be smarter – give credit to politicians who expose themselves to a grilling and be wary of those who avoid such scrutiny.