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An Audience with John Humphrys at Shoreham Word Fest

By: stagedoorscribbler - October 7, 2019

John Humphrys. Photograph by Hattie Miles

Just a few weeks after he stepped down from his position as main presenter and interviewer on the BBC Radio 4’s flagship news programme Today, veteran broadcaster and journalist John Humphrys is appearing at the Shoreham Word Fest this week.
Humphrys is of course one of Britain’s best known and most controversial broadcasters. He has been a journalist for more than half a century. He was BBC TV’s youngest foreign correspondent and has anchored most frontline news and current affairs programmes on both television and radio.
So it’s fair to say that the audience at Shoreham can expect some great tales and a little bit of an insight into what makes him tick when he joins a stellar line-up of speakers at the Word Fest for An Audience with John Humphrys on Thursday.
He has won just about all the national broadcasting awards … including the “Oscar of Oscars”: the Sony Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement.  The citation read: “He has truly changed the face of radio and the nature of the radio interview for an entire generation.”
He has also frequently been referred to by newspapers as a “national treasure” - which he loathes because he says it makes him feel a bit like one of Queen Victoria’s commodes.
But he has also achieved something else. He has become a hate figure in his time for BOTH major political parties. When the Conservatives were in power he was savagely attacked by one cabinet minister for “poisoning the well of democratic debate” with his style of interviewing. All that changed and he was attacked by New Labour for giving ministers a hard time. He was described as the “John Humphrys problem” and they called for him to be sacked. Similar divisions were seen among opposing factions during his more recent broadcasts about Brexit.
An Audience with John Humphrys is at the Shoreham Word Fest on Thursday 10th October. More info at