Users of social media have been paying tribute to veteran broadcaster James Naughtie, who presented his final edition of Radio 4’s Today programme Wednesday.
Naughtie is becoming Special Correspondent for the station, where he will be reporting on elections, political matters and the EU referendum. He is also becoming the BBC’s Books Editor, in lieu of his work presenting the Radio 4 programme Bookclub.
Well done @naughtiej. Emotional and fitting finale. Rather moving for those of us that have shared our mornings with him for 20yrs
— Tim Shipman (@ShippersUnbound) December 16, 2015
— Simon Mayo (@simonmayo) December 16, 2015
Speaking before he signed off, Naughtie said he had been woven into the fabric of the programme, and that special credit needed to go to its listeners.
“All of you who listen need to be thanked,” Naughtie said. “You are the programme.”
In a statement issued after it was announced Naughtie would become Radio 4’s Special Correspondent, Tony Hall, the BBC’s Director-General, said Naughtie was the emotional heart of Today for a generation.
“His persistent and incisive questioning has given millions of listeners a greater understanding of the stories of our time,” Hall said. “Above all he’s a writer and reporter at heart – he can bring to life a vivid scene on the radio better than anyone.”
Naughtie presented the programme since 1994, however had the occasional slip up on air, most notably prior to an interview with then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Hunt also paid tribute to him via Twitter.
Jim Naughtie always a tough and talented interviewer despite the occasional mispronunciation: https://t.co/LC5qYMqFep
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) December 14, 2015
Naughtie said earlier this year in a statement issued to the media he looked forward to shutting off the 3am alarm, and for the challenge that was ahead.