R4 names Blunkett among guest editors on the Today Programme

LONDON - Disgraced former minister David Blunkett is to turn the tables on 'Today Programme' presenter John Humphrys and press him about the condition of the fourth estate as he is named as one of five guest editors of the BBC radio show.

The BBC has also named: HSBC chairman Sir John Bond; former BBC newsreader Anna Ford; Queen Noor of Jordan; and Steve "Chandrasonic" Savale from the band Asian Dub Foundation as guest editors. Their editions of Today will be broadcast between December 27-31.

Blunkett, as guest editor, wanted to see the programme, listened to by Britain's political and business elite, opened up to a broader audience.

"Editing the 'Today Programme' is something that I'm sure most listeners (and I am very much a listener now) would want to have a go at. I'm particularly keen to reflect a better social and geographical spread, without alienating the traditional audience. I hope it will be entertaining -- not full of heavy politics," Blunkett said.

The recently retired Anna Ford will use her stint to tackle the subject of ageism. "At last, a chance to get my hands on the running order and content. What an opportunity. I'm really looking forward to it."

Guest editors are responsible for between a third and a half of the programme's output with the regular day and night duty editors on hand to make sure their material is newsworthy and meets the BBC's producer guidelines.

Today's editor Kevin Marsh said: "'Today''s guest editors have been a great success. They've brought some fascinating and thought-provoking radio to 'Today' listeners -- and always from a fresh standpoint." 

Previous 'Today Programme' guest editors have included: Bono; the Duchess of York; Lord Tebbit; the film director Anthony Minghella; and Professor Stephen Hawking.

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