John Humphrys and Garry Richardson have left ‘Today’ and ‘Sportsweek’ on BBC Radio. Each man presented his respective programme for decades. Both were good at it, though you might regard either as a Marmite figure to like or loathe. They are shrewd, competent journalists, careful listeners, and dedicated to their listeners as they bring first class interviews and presentations in more than just brief sound bites.

Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi,  paid tribute to John Humphrys in his ‘Thought for the Day’. He spoke of the Old Testament prophets who ‘spoke truth to power and held power accountable to truth.’ It takes courage and energy to maintain integrity in a highly scrutinised public role. Messrs Humphrys and Richardson achieved that.

On one or two occasions I emailed John Humphrys, not needing or expecting a reply. But a personal response came, full of courtesy, humility and interest.

Kingdoms and governments rise and fall, politicians and sports stars come and go, as do jobs, seasons and each one of us in our brief blip on earth. But this is not an obituary, so I thank John Humphrys and Garry Richardson for the clarity of the information they’ve passed on, for asking the questions I would like to have asked of their interviewees, and for getting up in the very early hours to prepare for their programmes.

As someone who invariably wakes at 5.20 in time for the early morning shipping forecast, and whose first facial expression of the day was a smile at 6 o’clock whenever it was John’s voice welcoming me to the ‘Today’ programme, it’s a significant irony that the morning after his last show, I overslept and didn’t wake till 7.15.

PS I’ve updated my Photo Gallery so please take a look at September Sights






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