Veteran BBC broadcaster John Humphrys went Radio Ga Ga today when he made a series of gaffes before stunning listeners on the Today programme by declaring: “I’ve gone completely barmy.”
The Radio 4 presenter made a string of mistakes on the prime-time morning show following a disastrous interview with a cancer victim which forced him to apologise for the bad line.
The interviewer, who turns 70 in August, then introduced the regular ‘Thought for the Day’ segment before speaking over the first few seconds of the guest.
Bizarrely after the segment ended he introduced it again before co-presenter Evan Davies came to his rescue and awkwardly told him: “No no, that was ‘Thought for the Day’.”
He then gave listeners the wrong time before again being corrected by his embarrassed co-host.
An exasperated Humphrys then told listeners: “I’m sorry I’ve gone completely barmy. It was only a matter of time I suppose.”
In an unfortunate coincidence, the next item was a feature on psychiatry.
Listeners expressed shock at the presenter’s apparent “melt down”.
Liz Meade, 50, from Evesham, Worcs., said: “It was the strangest hour of broadcasting on the BBC I have ever heard.
“John Humphrys is usually so measured and exact in what he says but he must have got out of the wrong side of the bed because he was all over the place.
“To be fair to him things started going wrong with the cancer interview. The interviewee was pretty ill-informed and the line was terrible.
“It was the radio equivalent of witnessing a train crash in slow motion.”
Fan John Butler, 40, from Barnstaple, North Devon, added: “John is known as a Rottweiler on the radio but he was more like a rabbit caught in the head-lights.
“I expect he needed a long lie-down. It was a pretty embarrassing melt down on prime-time radio.”
In April Humphrys was given a nine-month extension to his Radio 4 Today contract which also meant he will front BBC’s Mastermind for anther three years.
Speaking after signing the lucrative deal, he said: “I’m not planning to pack it in just yet. I’m rather enjoying the job. I’ve no plans to shuffle off this mortal coil.”