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A Chance To Meet John Humphrys

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 A Chance To Meet John Humphrys

Date posted: 14 November 2006

Six million listeners wake up to the sound of John Humphrys’ voice most mornings reporting the day’s news and helping to define the nation’s mood. He is arguably the UK’s most influential interviewer. Few politicians miss hearing what he has to say on the issues of the day, and he is respected and feared in equal measure for his incisive ability to cut through layers of waffle, asking questions which lay bare the truth.

But how well do you know the man behind the voice? Who is this steely inquisitor? He’s a man of many interests - a genial examiner of Masterminds and a punctilious guardian of the English language. He is also seeking to make a practical contribution to solving problems on a local level in Africa through his Kitchen Table Charities Trust.

On Friday November 24, John makes a rare visit to Derby to appear in the Court Room at the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road Campus where he will talk about his distinguished career in broadcasting and his charity - for which the evening aims to raise much needed funds.

John began to learn his craft as an indentured reporter in Cardiff in 1958. In 1966 he moved to the BBC in Liverpool and moved to London in 1970. Aged 28 John became the BBC’s first full time television correspondent in the United States and the youngest television foreign correspondent. He worked in New York for a year and in Washington for five years, covering stories from Nixon’s Watergate scandal in North America to the revolution in Chile.

He moved to South Africa in 1977 and reported the transformation of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe, gaining insight into Africa’s problems. He returned to London in 1980 as the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent. In 1981 John became the main presenter of BBC One’s Nine O’Clock News and moved to the Today Programme on Radio 4, where he has remained for nearly 20 years.

In 47 years as a journalist John has interviewed Presidents, Prime Ministers and dictators, he has struck fear into the hearts of politicians of every hue, and has sensitively questioned interviewees about the most difficult subjects. In 2003 he won the Gold Sony Award (the radio industry’s Oscar).

An Evening With John Humphrys will raise money for the Kitchen Table Charities Trust, John’s own direct-action charity, which assists people in Africa with practical requirements that enable them to lead a more fulfilling life.

John’s experiences reporting on desperate poverty in Africa, and his awareness of the networks of small charities doing good work in the Third World inspired his drive to establish his Charity.

“There are a vast number of small charities all over the world who do a wonderful job. You’ve probably never even heard of them. They don’t have swanky offices or air-conditioned Land Rovers or money to spend on expensive advertising. Every penny goes to people in need. But they struggle to survive because they simply can’t afford their own fund-raising operations,” he says.

The talk is open to everyone, with tickets allocated on a first-come, first-served basis for a suggested donation of £12.50 - a figure boosted by your Gift Aid covenant. After his talk, which commences at 7pm, John will sign copies of his book, Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language, in the University’s Atrium.

John will talk with wit and candour about his life as a journalist and his privileged position as a close observer of our elected leaders. It promises to be entertaining, enlightening and (perhaps even) scandalous.

To reserve your ticket, please contact the University’s Events Coordinator, Angela Drinkwater, on 01332 591046 or email a.drinkwater@derby.ac.uk.

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For further media information please contact the University of Derby Buxton’s Press and PR Officer, Simon Butt, on 07748 920023 or 01332 591891, or via email at s.butt@derby.ac.uk.  

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