Listen free for 30 days

A Day Like Today

Memoirs
Narrated by: John Humphrys
Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

For more than three decades, millions of Britons have woken to the sound of John Humphrys’ voice.

As presenter of Radio 4’s Today, the nation’s most popular news programme, he is famed for his tough interviewing, his deep misgivings about authority in its many forms and his passionate commitment to a variety of causes.

A Day Like Today charts John’s journey from the poverty of his postwar childhood in Cardiff, leaving school at 15, to the summits of broadcasting. Humphrys was the BBC’s youngest foreign correspondent; he was the first reporter at the catastrophe of Aberfan, an experience that marked him for ever; he was in the White House when Richard Nixon became the first American president to resign; in South Africa during the dying years of apartheid; and in war zones around the globe throughout his career. John was also the first journalist to present the Nine O’Clock News on television.

Humphrys pulls no punches and now, freed from the restrictions of being a BBC journalist, he reflects on the politicians he has interrogated and the controversies he has reported on and been involved in, including the interview that forced the resignation of his own boss, the director general. In typically candid style, he also weighs in on the role the BBC itself has played in our national life - for good and ill - and the broader health of the political system today.

A Day Like Today is both a sharp, shrewd memoir and a backstage account of the great newsworthy moments in recent history - from the voice behind the country’s most authoritative microphone.

©2019 John Humphreys (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Bloody fantastic

Wasn't sure when I first started listening and nearly returned it. So glad I didn't. Very interesting.
The author narrates the book very well.
well worth the listen

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Gnarled old hack with a ringside seat to history

John Humphrys does not fit the mould of the majority of BBC newsmen. He is from a working class background in South Wales and did not go to university. Instead he worked his way up being a reporter on a local paper to eventually being the kingpin on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, a position that he held for 33 years. In this fascinating book he tells his story with his customary grumpy old man delivery; he becomes most animated in the chapters describing his days as a reporter, his description of the Aberfan tragedy is particularly poignant. He talks in depth of his days as a foreign correspondent for the BBC in Bangladesh and later the USA during the Watergate scandal and South Africa during apartheid and the Zimbabwean independence. John Humphrys can truly claim to have had a ringside seat to history during these times.

On his return to London he did not take too well to being a BBC newsreader and it was his transition to radio where he really made his name. John Humphries talks about his deep seated mistrust of those in authority and his cynicism of the establishment and he relished his role as inquisitor in chief of politicians for three decades and this is the job for which he will be most remembered. I have always found there is a tendency for the Today programme to fall into the trap of wanting to create the news rather than reporting it and John Humphries does little to confound this, describing the show (and it IS just a radio show) as the "flagship current affairs programme on the BBC" and "the most prestigious radio programme in the country". Its listeners are notoriously both vociferous and loyal and the show has itself become part of established political regime that a young John Humphrys may well have detested.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A great insight into the BBC and John Humphrys

A brilliant memoir, compelling listen, as good as live on Radio 4. Will no doubt listen again soon.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a great book

i loved this book from start to finish a must read or listen great life experience

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating account

It was a pleasure to hear the broadcaster tell his personal story in his own words. Events such as the Newsnight scandal and the Hutton Inquiry were particularly thrilling drive-through's of recent political history. I can think of no better narrator and guide than the author.

The Entwhistle interview was the high-point for me. The interview, played in full, is brilliantly framed to even greater dramatic impact than it had at the time. The same can be said of several other items too. The Aberfan tradgedy is also very movingly described.

Humphrys' sage reflections on the state of political debate and on persons in politics and the BBC were very welcome too.

My only criticism would be a slight lack of coherence or lack of weight on certain issues on which Humphrys opines, but perhaps to ask more of a journalist in this respect is unreasonable. Such reflections are best when they relate to the state of our present culture and its immediate future. It's certainly a fascinating insight into the man and his times and particularly the organisation he worked for.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful