If you read my review of last Friday's Mastermind you'll perhaps recall that I mentioned that John Humphrys had been reported in the London Evening Standard last week as having said that presenting Mastermind was "Money for old rope." I was therefore highly interested to read Bryony Gordon's interview with him in today's Telegraph.
Apparently the interview took place before the after-dinner speech where the remark was reported to have been made.
"Several days after we meet , he makes an after -dinner speech . . . where he describes presenting the quiz programme as 'money for old rope'.
It was, he told me yesterday, a joke taken out of context - he was merely retelling what he laughingly told the BBC's head of light entertainment when they called him to offer him the job. "Bloody journalists!" he says, tongue firmly in cheek."Never trust them. "
It doesn't make a lot of difference to the price of tea, I know, but I'm rather glad that this was something that he said in jest, rather than in earnest, and I'm glad that it was a comment made before he had got his teeth into the show. I don't know how much John Humphrys was paid for the 2007 series, and its none of my business, but I can tell you that what he delivered on the day of the Grand Final certainly wasn't old rope at all. He did a terrific job.