DNA Revelation Thrusts Naughtie into the Spotlight

The Scots-born presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, James Naughtie, finds himself taking up almost half a page today in the paper which gave him his break into journalism – regional daily, the Press and Journal.

Reports the P&J’s, Morag Lindsay: “Milltown of Rothiemay’s most famous son got his comeuppance on national radio yesterday when broadcaster, James Naughtie, was unmasked as an Englishman.

“The Today show front man, who was brought up in the village on the border of Moray and Aberdeenshire and worked at the Press and Journal after graduating from Aberdeen University, was given the news by a historian who traced his family line by examining his DNA.

“Alistair Moffat did his best to sugar-coat the diagnosis on yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 morning news show, telling Mr Naughtie: ‘I’m afraid the brutal truth is you’re an Anglo-Saxon’.

“Fellow presenter John Humphrys [Cardiff-born] saw right through the ruse, exclaiming gleefully, ‘He’s English’ – to which Mr Naughtie retorted: ‘Steady on, at least I’m not Welsh’.”

The test was part of a project run by Moffat and Jim Wilson, from Edinburgh University, to trace the roots of modern-day Scots.

Using a saliva sample given by Naughtie in March the pair were able to determine that his ancestors were Angles who arrived in England from Scandinavia around 500AD and settled in Northumbria and south-east Scotland.