James Naughtie leaves The Today Programme
After 21 years presenter Radio 4’s Today Programme, James Naughtie is changing jobs to become Special Correspondent for BBC Radio 4.
From January 2016, James will continue to be heard on Today but also other Radio 4 programmes. He’ll write and present radio documentaries and continue to anchor the overnight coverage of elections, and the EU referendum, on BBC Radio.
He is also being appointed as BBC News Books Editor. This will involve presenting a regular book review for the Today programme on a Saturday morning.
James Naughtie joined Today in 1994 following the death of Brian Redhead, having spent six years as presenter of The World at One, where he succeeded Sir Robin Day. He has anchored every election results programme for BBC Radio since 1997, worked on every US presidential election since 1988, covered Papal installations, D-Day commemorations and been the voice of important national events, including the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. He was in Egypt for the Cairo Revolution, Japan for the tsunami, Hong Kong for the hand back to China, and Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion.
Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: “Jim has been the emotional heart of the Today programme for a generation. His persistent and incisive questioning has given millions of listeners a greater understanding of the stories of our time. Above all he’s a writer and reporter at heart – he can bring to life a vivid scene on the radio better than anyone – and I’m delighted that on many of the biggest news stories of 2016 and beyond Jim will continue to be at the heart of our coverage.
Jim Naughtie says: “It was exciting to discover that the BBC and I had the same idea about what I should do next. I’m thrilled to be moving from one dream job to another, and working with the programmes across Radio 4 – including Today – that I love and have known for so long. I can’t think of a more invigorating challenge. And after 21 years, I can turn off that 3am alarm at last”.
James Harding, Director of News, says: “Jim brings a range of passions and interests, a host of intelligence and understanding to all that he does on the BBC. As a presenter of Today, he has illuminated the national conversation on politics and world affairs, the arts and culture for more than 20 years. I am excited at the prospect of Jim, unleashed, as inquisitor and reporter, critic and twinkling enthusiast across the Radio 4 airwaves for years to come.”
Gwyneth Williams, Controller of BBC Radio 4, adds: “Jim has been a leading Radio 4 presenter for as long as I can remember and I want to thank him for his many years on Today. Our discerning audience trusts his judgement and we all respond to his inimitable enthusiasm and verve. His is an elegant pen and Jim has made good writing his signature. Thus I am thrilled to be keeping for Radio 4, in this broader role, his particular voice, with its rich understanding of politics and culture and history.”