Justin Webb

Why medical history is the best history

Spectator contributors were asked: Which moment from history seems most significant or interesting? Here is Justin Webb’s answer: A gloomy January day in the Canadian city of Toronto. The year is 1922 and a 14-year-old boy called Leonard Thompson is lying in the hospital. Leonard weighs under five stone. He has been on a starvation diet

How I learned to love (some of) my Twitter critics

John Humphrys doesn’t do Twitter. Which, let’s face it, is wise. If it weren’t for Twitter I would have written an Important Novel. Instead, I find myself constructing rapier-sharp put-downs to online attacks. Which can take hours. And I never post them anyway because: BBC and all that. Anyway, I am quite fond of several

Diary – 18 January 2018

My friend John Humphrys has managed to get on to the front pages again. We first met in the 1980s when I was a very junior bod on Today and he had just arrived to present. He was the same then as he is now: argumentative, hostile to authority of any kind, gimlet-focused on what

Diary – 21 February 2013

Waiting for a match to begin at the gloriously situated Recreation Ground — home of Bath Rugby — I take a moment from shouting ‘Come on you Bath’ at the top of my voice, to consider wider issues. Rugby Union, for instance: the game is a civilising influence like literacy or clean drinking water. When

Diary – 11 October 2012

Straight off the overnight plane from a work trip to Miami I head for Paddy Power in Camberwell. I think I know what the result of the American election is going to be. Luckily for me (or perhaps for them) they are still closed so I wheel my suitcase home and the moment passes. My

Diary – 23 October 2010

One of the joys of working early mornings is not having to work after 9 a.m. But there are pitfalls. My colleague Jeremy Bowen, during a stint on morning television, went for a pleasant lunch in central London and emerged from the restaurant to see a 176 bus. This goes close to the unfashionable area

Diary – 27 September 2008

I am deeply depressed about my children’s capacity to connect with the Old Country should we ever come back to England. My effort to begin the process of toughening them up for the rigours of the British education system (uniforms, etc) met with disregard bordering on insolence. ‘You might have to take exams,’ I ventured.