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29 October 2014
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Today presenters (from left): Carolyn Quinn, Edward Stourton, John Humphrys, Sarah Montague and James Naughtie

Today programme celebrates 50 years on air

The Today programme, BBC Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme, reaches a milestone on Sunday 28 October 2007, celebrating its 50th birthday.


Today is Radio 4's most popular programme and at this year's Sony Awards it won several awards including Gold in the Breakfast Show category and a Gold for presenter John Humphrys in the News Journalist of the Year category.


Over the last 12 months Today has reached an average of just over six million listeners every week.


Presented by five of the most respected journalists in broadcasting – John Humphrys, James Naughtie, Sarah Montague, Edward Stourton and Carolyn Quinn – and renowned for its sheer breadth of coverage and serious, incisive interviews, it is generally considered to be one of the most influential news programmes in Britain.


Director of BBC News, Helen Boaden, said: "Today embodies the best aspects of BBC journalism: it's curious, challenging and occasionally quirky with a strong sense of the zeitgeist and a powerful bond with its audience.


"No wonder it's survived, thrived and stayed fresh for 50 years."


Controller of Radio 4, Mark Damazer, said: "The Today programme is the spearhead of Radio 4. Its qualities embody Radio 4's defining attributes.


"Today has depth, breadth, intelligence and wit, and assumes the audience wants to hear serious debate and analysis but is not frightened of anything lateral or unexpected.


"It's a huge tower in the News and Current Affairs landscape and remains indispensable listening for millions.


"Over its 50 years it has changed many times but still sees off all challengers."


Editor of Today, Ceri Thomas, said: "Editing the Today programme is the most privileged position BBC News has to offer; it's challenging, rewarding, sometimes nerve-wracking but always fascinating.


"The real beauty of it is that there is nothing else quite like Today, not only in Britain but anywhere in the world."


Today celebrates its 50th birthday
Today presenters (from left): Edward Stourton, Carolyn Quinn, John Humphrys, Sarah Montague and James Naughtie


Today marked its birthday by asking listeners born on the same day as the programme – 28 October 1957 – to share their memories of both great and personal events over the last 50 years. Their fascinating and sometimes moving stories can be viewed on the Today website.


Twelve of the "Today Generation" set up blogs for the Today website including Steve Morris, former drummer in the band Joy Division, who went on to form a second band, New Order, under Factory Records and also co-founded legendary Manchester nightclub The Hacienda.


Talking about life after Joy Division, he says: "New Order's relationship with Factory and Factory's relationship with New Order was that they should be allowed to make mistakes."


Like many other listeners, the death of Winston Churchill in 1965 was one of the earliest memories of a significant news event for Today Generation blogger, Carol Kelly.


She said: "I remember hearing the news early in the morning and lying next to my mother in my parents' bed as the story unfolded on the radio.


"Although, because of his young age, my father had a relatively minor involvement in the Second World War, his brother was killed in the conflict and the war years played a major part in my parents' lives.


"Their sadness at the death of Churchill made me realise how important a national figure he had been."


Paul Mundy, Today Generation blogger, vividly recalls the tension of the 1966 football World Cup Final, won by England.


He says: "I was distraught – I burst into tears and hid behind the sofa. 'It's only a game' insisted my parents, but it took Geoff Hurst's controversial goal – his shot hit the crossbar, then bounced down onto the ground and then out of the goal – to get me out from behind the sofa."









Category: News; Radio 4
Date: 28.10.2007
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