James Naughtie's last Radio 4 Today Programme

Dec 16, 2015, 08:00 PM

Calm, measured, looking around with care for the next word under the settee, James Naughtie has been part of Radio 4’s Today programme for 21years.

Enjoy here an unfairly telescoped edition of a programme which should never be thus edited. This last programme from Jim in December 2015 affords, nevertheless, a wonderful insight into the man referred to by BBC director general Tony Hall as "the emotional heart of Today for a generation".

All the usual features are in evidence, including a quote from the Independent's travel correspondent Simon Calder; an errant timecheck; and the line going down as he chats with John Major. The former PM is summoned back by phone and one imagines the production staff insisting that he really must return lest he issue some much deserved words of thanks from the Nation to Mister Naughtie. He doesn't disappoint.

There’s mischief too: an interview about a favourite road; a few best bits; some delicious devil’s advocacy on James’s performance from John; and, well, in the words of John "on last programmes, all normal rules are suspended".

And a gulp at the end. Under the Alice Arnold rules, Radio 4 presenters are only ever allowed to show emotion in their last ever sentence. And he did. James, you served radio proud. We'll miss you in the mornings,