John Humphrys quipped that leaving the Today programme “will make other people happier” as he hosted the flagship show following news that he plans to leave.

The veteran broadcaster, 75, steered clear of his own headlines as he reviewed the newspapers on the Radio 4 programme.

But in a discussion on personal happiness, he quipped: “Do you reckon leaving the Today programme is going to make you happier? I mean, if it were to happen.”

And he added: “It will make other people happier possibly!”

The discussion was prompted by Yoko Ono’s plea on Twitter for advice on how to make people “heal and shine”.

Earlier, when a guest told Humphrys, “I can’t believe you are leaving!”, he replied: “All these stories got up by the press. Can’t believe a word you read!”

Humphrys told the Daily Mail he plans to quit Today this year after 32 years fronting the show.

He said he had not yet handed in his notice but planned to do so.

John Humphrys
John Humphrys at work on BBC Radio 4 Today (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

“I’m assuming it’ll be this year. That’s what I’m assuming, but I haven’t fixed a date,” he said of leaving.

“It’s not easy to leave a job you’ve been doing for 32 years. It’s more than half my professional life.

“It’s not like I’m an ambitious youngster with many, many more challenges ahead of me or something like that.

“I’ve always taken the view — and this is the problem in a way — that I would carry on doing it either until they threw me out or had enough of me, or that I’d got bored of it or stopped enjoying it.

“None of those things has happened.”

And as he read out the newspaper headlines on Wednesday morning, he avoided his own news.

“Let’s have a look at the newspapers. The front page of the Mail says that Britons are falling out of love with booze,” he said.

John Humphrys and Evan Davis during Today's first broadcast at its new home in New Broadcasting House
John Humphrys and Evan Davis during Today’s first broadcast at its new home in New Broadcasting House (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

Humphrys joined Today in 1987 and his departure could trigger a shake-up on the show.

Recently Martha Kearney joined the programme, swapping jobs with Sarah Montague, who moved to World At One.

In 2017, Humphrys was at the centre of the debate surrounding the gender pay gap at the BBC.

The veteran broadcaster’s pay was slashed from around £600,000-£650,000 to around £250,000-£300,000.

He said it was his decision to take the cut, telling the Press Association he would “like to think” he has given the BBC “reasonable value for money over the years” and “I’m not exactly on the breadline”.

The BBC declined to comment on Humphrys’s departure.

But Today editor Sarah Sands tweeted: “Enjoy John’s lap of honour this year. Totally uninterested in his own publicity. A king of broadcasting. And long live Mishal.”