Emma Brophy discovers some interesting facts about the acclaimed journalist, broadcaster and author
Radio and television presenter, journalist, author, and winner of many national Broadcasting awards John Humphrys is one of the country’s most accomplished media figures.
Local resident and proud father, John was main presenter of the Nine O'Clock news before moving to the Radio 4 Today programme 20 years ago, where his interviews with politicians have become legendary.
He was the BBC's youngest television foreign correspondent, when he covered the Watergate saga in the United States and was in Southern Africa when Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, spent long periods reporting the troubles in Northern Ireland, and has witnessed assorted wars, revolutions and disasters around the world.
That’s the public side of John Humphrys, however, there is another one as I discovered when I was given the opportunity to ask him a few questions of my own. For those expecting a 'John Humphrys style' interview here you'll be sorely disappointed because I was more interested in the man behind the media profile:
1. What do you like most about living in West London?
Being able to get out of town quickly. It's not that I don't enjoy London, but I like the feeling that you cab be in decent walking country within half an hour or so.
2. Are you big on community or do you prefer anonymity when not working?
The advantage AND disadvantage of working for the Today programme is that you get invited to lots of parties, dinners, receptions and so on. I avoid them all! I'd much prefer the company of a small group of friends - or even my own company. It's hard to beat an evening at home with a decent book. Maybe that shows I'm feeling my age....
3. Is fatherhood very different this time around?
Entirely. The first time around I was in my early twenties, worried about career and mortgage and all the things young people have to worry about. Now I have much more time to spend with my little boy and it's glorious.
4. Do you cook much and if so what is your favourite dish?
Yes, I cook a lot. My oldest son, Christopher, is a brilliant curry-maker and taught me how to make a decent curry a few years ago. I even did a challenge with Gordon Ramsey on his telly programme. He won - but only just!
5. Who would be your perfect dinner companion and where would you dine?
Personal friends. I've met too many famous people over the years to be impressed with fame for the sake of it. And I prefer eating at home to fancy restaurants.
6. What is your favourite local restaurant?
I've been eating at The Brackenbury for more than 20 years and still enjoy the occasional meal there... and the Angelsea Arms. I refuse to go to restaurants if I can't walk to them - which limits the choice a bit.
7. Are you any good at DIY?
I gave it up entirely years ago when I blew myself up trying to operate a bitumen boile. I read the Nine O’Clock News on telly that night hiding my arm under the desk because it was swathed in bandages. That put an end to my DIY career for good.
8. How green are you?
Very. Who wouldn't be given the state we're in? We betray our children and grandchildren if we keep polluting the planet.
9. What keeps you awake at night?
Very little. When you get up before 4.00am you HAVE to sleep - or you can't function.
10. What book are you reading at the moment?
Melvyn Bragg's latest novel (based on his own life) "Remember Me"
The Parish of Our Lady of Grace and St Edward's are delighted to welcome John Humphrys as their guest of honour at The Chiswick Summer Fair on Saturday 5th July.
June 25, 2008