Saturday 22 December 2018

"I'm about as posh as you are. I come from Wales, as you do. I'm not posh".

David Dimbleby, in the 'Today' studio this morning

John Humphrys and David Dimbleby had a slight falling-out on this morning's Today:

John Humphrys: Your views about the monarchy? I noticed that you've got the brilliant Craig Brown to talk about it and he's a noted satirist and can be a wee bit cruel about the monarchy occasionally in a very funny way. Your views about it? Because you've been... one imagines anyway, because you're quite posh, aren't you, and one imagines you've been quite close to the monarchy over the years, and you've certainly covered a huge amount of royal occasions. 
David Dimbleby: That's a...John, that is... 
John Humphrys: I know they're two different things.  
David DimblebySorry, there's a typical sneer in that... 
John HumphrysWell... 
David Dimbleby"You're quite posh". I'm about as posh as you are. I come from Wales, as you do. I'm not posh. I happen to have been a broadcaster for a long time. I'm not... 
John HumphrysYou had a very distinguished father. 
David DimblebyBut that doesn't make me posh. I had a distinguished father. It's a ridiculous question. 
John HumphrysAll right. 
David DimblebyBut the point is about the monarchy. I'm not close to the monarchy. I have met the Queen probably less often than you.  
John HumphrysAh! 
David DimblebyI met her once I think. 
John HumphrysI don't know why I made that assumption. 
David DimblebyAnd I have no connection at all. 

So just two working-class Welsh boys who made good then?

Well, Wikipedia suggests otherwise:

Humphrys was born in Cardiff at 193 Pearl Street, Adamsdown, son of Winifred Mary (Matthews), a hairdresser, and Edward George Humphrys, a self-employed French polisher. He was one of five children. During early life Humphrys had a bout of whooping cough and concerned that he would be known as 'Dismal Desmond' his mother opted to use the name John. His parents encouraged him to do his homework and he passed the eleven plus exam. He became a pupil at Cardiff High School (then a grammar school), but he did not fit into the middle class environment there. He was an average pupil and left school at 15 to become a reporter on the Penarth Times. He later joined the Western Mail.
Dimbleby was born in Surrey, the son of the journalist and Second World War war correspondent Richard Dimbleby, by his marriage to Dilys Thomas, from Wales. His younger brother is Jonathan Dimbleby, also a television current affairs presenter. David Dimbleby was educated at two independent schools, the Glengorse School in Battle, East Sussex, and Charterhouse School in Godalming, Surrey. After learning French in Paris and Italian in Perugia, Dimbleby read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Christ Church, Oxford and graduated with a third-class honours degree. While at Oxford he was President of the Christ Church JCR, a member of the Bullingdon Club – a socially exclusive student dining and drinking society – and also editor of the student magazine Isis.

David Dimbleby was deadly serious about not being posh, and being "from Wales", and being just as not-posh as John Humphrys...despite being from Surrey, having a distinguished father, going to two independent schools (including Charterhouse), studying in Paris and Perugia, going to Oxford University and being a member of the Bullingdon Club. (And his son famously went to Eton with Jacob Rees-Mogg!). 

So I think he's definitely posher than John,  the son of a hairdresser and a French polisher, genuinely "from Wales", grammar school-educated but a misfit there who left school and got a job at 15!

Fake news from David Dimbleby (about himself)! One for the BBC's Reality Check?


  1. DD - who sent his son to Eton.

    A real plebian..

  2. The Bullingdon Club! Priceless when you think how much stick Boris Johnson & David Cameron have tàken from the Beeb on that subject! Maybe Dimbleby's Third was accepted in mitigation.

  3. The two facts here about David Dimbleby - that he ... graduated with a third-class honours degree... and that he was ... a member of the Bullingdon Club... are revealing. I don't want to be rude, but I thought a third-class honours degree was awarded to student who had done s*d all but drink sherry during their time there. I word from Daddy would have surely avoided the 'fail' or 'drop-out' label.

    And, DD a member of the Bullingdon Club? This is the club that Cameron and Osborne as members were taunted over mercilessly by the BBC. How he must have winced when this topic came up.

    It is clear that David Dimbleby thinks he isn't posh. More Fake News from one of the BBC's leading lights.

  4. Craig - You beat Steerpike to the story!

  5. I found that spat this morning quite amusing. Humphrys certainly touched a raw nerve there! As to the careers of both Dimbleby and Humphrys, and their academic achievements, is this the Peter Principal in action? I have no doubt that when Dimbleby does retire he will be lauded by his colleagues as a “BBC legend”.

    1. He's not going to retire, he says. They were quick to get him on the radio, editing the Today programme. I suspect they have him lined up for something else. Chairman, perhaps? Is that invisible man, Clementi coming to the end of his contract, by any chance?


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