THE BBC's political editor Nick Robinson is to succeed James Naughtie as presenter of the flagship current affairs radio show Today.

Mr Robinson, who has recently been off work as he recovers from a successful operation for lung cancer, is to take charge from September following the Scot's decision to step down.

It represents a poignant move for Mr Robinson. As a schoolboy he was friends with the show's original presenter, the late Brian Redhead, through his father and was at school with his son Will.

After finishing their A-Levels, Mr Robinson suffered serious injuries in a car crash in France in which Will died along with another boy.

Mr Robinson, 51, has been political editor for a decade after he switched from ITN.

Mr Robinson said: "I cannot remember a time when my morning did not begin with Today - the programme - setting the nation's agenda.

"As a child it was the sound not just of the latest news and the sharpest comment but also of my best friend's Dad, Brian Redhead, who inspired my love of radio.

"Brian relished the opportunity to "drop a word in the nation's ear". I'm delighted that all these years later I am being given the chance to sit in what was his chair.

"For the past 21 years, ever since Brian's death, Jim Naughtie has charmed and stimulated Radio 4 listeners with his unique combination of political insights, passion for the arts and brilliant front-line reporting.

"It's a real honour to be chosen to succeed him."

Mr Robinson said me would miss reporting live from outside No 10, but was keen on a new challenge.

He was the subject of a complaint to the BBC, of which he was later cleared, after he claimed on air during the independence referendum campaign that Alex Salmond had refused to answer his question about the possible departure of RBS from Scotland after a Yes vote.

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC added: "The BBC has been fortunate to have in Nick Robinson the most authoritative and engaging political editor at work in Westminster over the past decade. I am delighted he will bring that exceptional mixture of journalistic rigour, sound judgment and great character to the Today programme."