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Jim Naughtie's Last 'Today' Programme Was A Rather Emotional Goodbye

16/12/2015 11:13 GMT | Updated 16/12/2015 22:59 GMT

James "Jim" Naughtie bid an emotional and teary farewell to the 'Today Programme' on Wednesday morning after presenting the show for 21 years.

Co-host John Humphrys told him he would be much-missed, while one of Naughtie's final interviews on the show was with former prime minister Sir John Major, who told him: "Like millions of other people I have found you and John part of our daily diet for a very long time, so if I may grab the airwaves for a moment I’d like to say I’ll miss you and I think a lot of other people will in the morning.

"And I will do so because generally you have asked the right questions, mostly you have listened to the answers and also you have done it in an extraordinarily professional way so I hope as you leave you are proud of what you have done."

Naughtie bade farewell saying it had been "one of the great privileges" to be in the presenter's chair. His familiar voice cracking with emotion, Naughtie paid tribute to the show's listeners, telling them: "You are the programme."

The programme's Twitter account said there was "not a dry eye in the house" as Naughtie signed off for the final time.

Naughtie said that the Today programme will continue but "it is inescapably a moment of change because you can't sit in this chair, working with such talented and decent producers, without being woven into the fabric of the programme, which I am, with all the presenters down the years - especially Sarah (Montague), Justin (Webb) and Mishal (Husain) in recent times, as well as my old friend here with whom I started and with whom I now finish. I will be giving them my thanks".

"But all of you who listened need to be thanked too. You are the programme, thank you."

As well as a long and illustrious presenting career, Naughtie is also famous for calling former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt 'Jeremy 'C**t'' while broadcasting live to millions of people.

He will go down in radio history for the gaffe, which he admitted made his colleagues hold their arms "up in the air" in surrender after he said the swear word on air in 2010.

Recalling the moment in the Mail on Sunday, Naughtie said: "The transposition of two initials meant that within two minutes, in Twitter-time an age, I was an object of national notoriety (and considerable amusement). I can still see the emails and tweets cascading down the screens in the office from listeners who couldn't believe what they'd heard (but mostly hoped they had). My most mortifying moment by a mile."

More recently he also said "shit" at the beginning of another broadcast.

But don't be too upset, Naughtie will be back on Radio 4 from next month presenting other programmes as well as anchoring coverage of elections and the EU referendum on BBC Radio.

LISTEN TO HIS BEST BITS HERE

Naughtie, 64, and Humphrys, 72, used their last show to joke about each other's bad habits.

Humphrys said: "There have been those scurrilous rumours out there about how you lose your scripts, get the time wrong, you ask very long questions and you chew your coffee cups and you doze off in the middle of... look none of it's..."

To which Naughtie interjected: "It's all true!"

Naughtie spoke about his stepping down earlier this year.

He called the Today gig his "dream job" and said he would miss “writing the front page of a newspaper – every day” or “dropping a word in the nation’s ear”.

Of his long-term on-air partner John Humphrys, 72, Naughtie said: “We’ve never had a cross word… we’re like Yin and Yang.”

“He has a nuclear reactor inside his chest somewhere that keeps him going at a rate I can’t match… he never misses a nuance… he is a consummate professional.”

“Today is like a golden cage. It’s fabulous. It’s a place you long to be, you love being there. The question is, how do you manage an exit? I’ve been extraordinarily fortunate…”

In his honour, here are our top five Radio 4 gaffes:

Best Radio 4 gaffes ever