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Confused Davis quits radio's Today

Presenter Evan Davis signed off as host of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme after six years by joking about his struggles to tell the time - then confused night with day.

The broadcaster left the agenda-setting programme this morning to head to a new role as an anchor on BBC2's Newsnight programme, replacing Jeremy Paxman.

As today's edition of the show came to its conclusion, he told listeners: " If I had another year or two, I might have mastered the art of telling the time accurately,

"Have a great night ... day," he added, correcting himself with his final words in his Today career.

His colleagues gave him a send-off by playing a montage of on-air bloopers and notable moments, introduced by fellow presenter Mishal Husain.

"Some of those bits are best forgotten," he said afterwards, before pointing out what a privilege it had been to work on the show and interivew figures from the Dalai Lama to Jay Z.

The 52-year-old also pointed out how listeners to the breakfast news programme often struggled to tell his voice apart from that of colleague Justin Webb.

"I got the credit for your wit and you got the blame for my sporadic ineptitude," he told his co-host.

Davis, a former BBC economics editor, will continue to present the BBC2 series Dragons' Den, which he has fronted for more than a decade.

As he wound up his final Today appearance, he joked: "It's a great pity to leave. At this point I should start promoting Newsnight."

Today editor Jamie Angus praised Davis's contribution to the show and said he did not want him to leave, but he respected his decision and said he would work well in his new role.

Speaking to the Broadcasting Press Guild yesterday, he said: "Clearly I didn't want Evan to leave. I thought it would be better if he stayed and wanted him to stay. I made my arguments to him. But I have no complaints about how the decision was taken.

"I can see exactly why Newsnight wanted him. I'm sorry he's leaving but I think he will do a great job."

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