R4’s Humphrys scorns talk of ‘chemistry’ with Davis
‘You wouldn’t want Evan and me flirting with each other?’ asks Today presenter
There were awkward moments on Radio 4's Today programme this morning between the curmudgeonly, heterosexual presenter John Humphrys and his comparatively junior and openly gay broadcasting partner Evan Davis. The awkwardness arose – appropriately - during a discussion about chemistry between presenters.
They were talking about the unveiling this evening of Jason Manford and Alex Jones as the new presenters of the One Show on BBC television. He (Manford) and she (Jones) are replacing Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, who jumped ship to ITV earlier this summer.
To discuss the issue, Today invited daytime TV producer Dianne Nelmes and Times reviewer Andrew Billen onto the show. Humphrys (left) then proceeded to bait Davis (right) throughout the interview.
Introducing Nelmes as the woman who made stars of husband-and-wife presenting team Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan in the late Eighties, Davis said she "has a knack for spotting presentorial combinations".
Humphrys could be heard muttering in the background: "Presentorial?!"
As Nelmes told Davis about the "incredible chemistry" Madeley and Finnigan always had onscreen, Humphrys quipped: "Does that mean they liked each other?"
Davis then suggested that "the sexual thing" was important between a male and female presenter, leaving Humphrys to swiftly agree with Nelmes's assertion that "content was the most important thing... the show is bigger than the presenters".
Humphrys said: "Absolutely, that's the thing isn't it. And if it's a serious programme, which this mostly is, except when we're talking about presenters perhaps. Maybe that's different. I mean, God forbid, you wouldn't want Evan and me flirting with each other, would you?"
Davis's response to that could not be clearly heard. Nelmes jumped in with: "I must say there's been a lot more chemistry in the last year. You guys now have a laugh together, which you didn't before."
"Yes, we allow ourselves that," Davis agreed, somewhat hesitantly.
"Do we?" Humphrys interjected swiftly. "Well, we'll have to put a stop to that." ·
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