Jonathan Dimbleby will soon be celebrating his 25th anniversary as chairman of Radio 4’s Any Questions? The occasion, next month, is being marked by the BBC with a special birthday party at Broadcasting House. It is being given by Graham Ellis, head of audio and music production.
Theories abound that Jonathan may use the occasion to step down from the job he has made his own. The 68-year-old broadcaster recently decided to give up his regular Saturday stint on sister programme Any Answers? So that he could spend more time with his young family.
Media watchers have pointed out that Any Questions? is actually quite a tough gig. It involves lots of travelling and the constant high-pressure requirement to keep the content – delivered from multiple sources often in the heat of the moment – balanced and legally sound.
Well, all we can say as that if Jonathan is planning to say farewell to the programme it is certainly the first we’ve heard of it.
What we do know is that he is currently out on the road with Clive Conway Productions talking about his fascinating life and career and specifically his latest book Destiny in the Desert. Published last month, it explores the British victory at the Battle of El Alamein in November 1942.
The book is a story of high drama, played out both in the war capitals of London, Washington, Berlin, Rome and Moscow, and at the front, in the command posts and foxholes in the desert. El Alamein is about the tensions and rivalries between politicians and generals, diplomats. Drawing on official records and the personal insights of those involved at every level the book creates a vivid portrait of a struggle which for Churchill marked the turn of the tide.
An Audience with Jonathan Dimbleby is at Ludlow Assembly Rooms,1 Mill Street, Ludlow, SHROPS, United Kingdom, SY8 1AZ on Wednesday November 28.
The following night (Thursday November 29) Jonathan will be at the Malvern Festival Theatre, Grange Road, Malvern , WORCES, United Kingdom, WR14 3HB.