39 Facts About John Humphrys


Desmond John Humphrys was born on 17 August 1943 and is a Welsh broadcaster.


John Humphrys was the host of the BBC Two television quiz show Mastermind from 2003 to 2021, for a total of 735 episodes.


John Humphrys has a reputation as an outspoken and challenging interviewer; occasionally politicians have been critical of his style after being subjected to a tough interview on live radio.


John Humphrys was born in a working class environment in Cardiff at 193 Pearl Street, Adamsdown, son of Winifred Mary, a hairdresser, and Edward George John Humphrys, a self-employed Conservative voting French polisher.


John Humphrys's parents encouraged him to do his homework and he passed the eleven plus exam.


John Humphrys became a pupil at Cardiff High School, but he did not fit into the middle class environment there.


John Humphrys was an average pupil and left school at 15, choosing not to go to university and instead became a reporter with the Penarth Times, a weekly newspaper that focused on local news in the town of Penarth, a seaside resort south of Cardiff.


John Humphrys later joined the Western Mail, a larger regional newspaper based in Cardiff.


John Humphrys joined Television Wales and the West, a commercial television channel based in Wales, and was the first reporter on the scene of the Aberfan disaster, which killed 144 people and destroyed entire parts of a town, in October 1966.


John Humphrys joined the BBC later in 1966 as the district reporter for Liverpool and the Northwest, where he reported on the dock strikes of that time, sometimes for the national news.


John Humphrys then worked as a foreign correspondent, initially having to go abroad and leave his family for six to nine-month periods at a time when his children were still young and growing up.


John Humphrys reported the resignation of president Richard Nixon in 1974 on television by satellite from the United States, the execution of Gary Gilmore in 1977, and later, when based in South Africa, he reported on the end of Rhodesia and the creation of the new nation of Zimbabwe.


John Humphrys became disillusioned with living in hotels and life on-the-road as a foreign correspondent, and returned to London in 1980 to take up the post of BBC Diplomatic Correspondent.


John Humphrys began presenting Today in January 1987, joining Brian Redhead.


John Humphrys still made occasional appearances fronting BBC Television news bulletins in the 1990s.


John Humphrys was the subject of This Is Your Life in January 2001 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel while presenting an edition of On The Record at the BBC Television Centre.


John Humphrys appeared on Series 1 Episode 5 of Da Ali G Show, which aired on 28 April 2000.


John Humphrys has presented Panorama and was the presenter of the revived version of the game show Mastermind between 2003 and 2021.


John Humphrys became the programme's fourth regular host, succeeding Magnus Magnusson, Peter Snow and Clive Anderson.


John Humphrys is an agnostic, but has said that he has a curiosity to test his agnosticism and challenge established religions to see if they can restore his childhood belief in God.


On 3 January 2011, John Humphrys announced that he had extended his contract to present the Today programme, but in doing so had agreed to a pay cut.


In February 2019, John Humphrys announced that he was to leave the Today programme, saying that he should have quit "years ago".


On 6 February 2021, in his Daily Mail column, John Humphrys announced he would leave his position on Mastermind after 18 years of hosting the programme.


John Humphrys was replaced by TV presenter Clive Myrie, who made his debut on 23 August 2021.


John Humphrys has written several books, including Lost for Words, in which he criticises what he sees as the widespread misuse of the English language, plus Devil's Advocate, Beyond Words, The Great Food Gamble and In God We Doubt: Confessions of a Failed Atheist.


John Humphrys played himself in the 2013 crime thriller film Closed Circuit with Eric Bana playing the lead.


John Humphrys is a keen gardener who makes his home-made compost and uses his own urine to water his lawn.


John Humphrys stated that his political views are heavily influenced by what he sees and who he talks to as a reporter.


John Humphrys married Edna Wilding in 1964 and they had two children, a son and daughter, Christopher and Catherine.


Wilding died of cancer in Glamorgan, South Wales; John Humphrys described her last days in a hospice in his book Devil's Advocate.


John Humphrys' son Christopher is a professional cellist while his daughter Catherine is a professional vegan chef.


John Humphrys referred to these facts on 31 October 2006 on BBC Radio 4 in the programme Humphrys in Search of God.


John Humphrys is a keen listener to classical music and cites Mozart, Beethoven and Bach as particular favourites, although he once saw The Rolling Stones in concert and said "they blew me away".


John Humphrys was a guest on the BBC Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs on 6 January 2008.


John Humphrys' brother, Bob John Humphrys, was a sports television presenter on BBC Wales Today.


John Humphrys died of lung cancer in Cardiff on 19 August 2008, aged 56.


In December 2013, John Humphrys was featured in an episode of the BBC Wales series Coming Home, together with his older brother Graham.


John Humphrys has won a number of industry awards, including being named Journalist of the Year in February 2000 at an awards ceremony organised by The House and Channel 4, the Gold Sony Radio Award in 2003, and a silver platter for Crystal Clear Broadcasting from the Plain English Campaign.


John Humphrys holds an honorary degree from Abertay University, which is located in Dundee, Scotland.