Here’s why Dame Jenni Murray is leaving Radio 4 show Woman’s Hour

By Helen Johnson
Friday, 24th July 2020, 12:56 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 12:56 pm
Dame Jenni Murray is leaving Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour after 33 years on the show (Photo: John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Dame Jenni Murray is leaving Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour after 33 years on the show.

Known for her honeyed tones, the beloved radio presenter has said she would be “moving on to a new stage in her long and distinguished broadcasting career,” according to the BBC.

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Here’s why she’s leaving, when her last broadcast will air - and who could replace her.

Why is Dame Jenni Murray leaving Woman’s Hour?

Dame Jenni joined Woman’s Hour in 1987 and is the longest-serving presenter in the 74-year history of the show.

Prior to Woman’s Hour, Dame Jenni joined BBC Radio Bristol in 1973 and then went on to report and present for BBC TV’s South Today.

In 1983, she joined Newsnight before moving to Radio 4 as a presenter for the Today programme.

Her time on Woman’s Hour has seen Dame Jenni conduct interviews with a host of female figures, including Dame Judi Dench, Margaret Atwood, Hillary Clinton and Bette Davis.

In a statement about her leaving, Dame Jenni said it’s now “time to move on”.

“I’ve spent nearly half my life with Woman’s Hour and it’s been a privilege ‎and delight to inform, educate and entertain a loyal and growing audience of women and men,” she said.

“Saying goodbye will be very hard to do, but it’s time to move on.”

During her time on the show, she has also interviewed high-profile names including American author Toni Morrison, Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto and Little Women actress, Saoirse Ronan.

The Barnsley-born presenter was made a Dame by the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2011, in recognition of her contribution to broadcasting.

‘Jenni is one of the most loved voices on Radio 4’

Dame Jenni has been thanked by colleagues at the BBC for her commitment to the show, alongside her help in illuminating important issues which are often neglected.

Mohit Bakaya, Controller of Radio 4, added: “Jenni is one of the most loved voices on Radio 4.

“For more than 30 years she has tackled important issues on behalf of listeners, opening up sometimes difficult conversations about the experiences of women and shining a light on subjects that have often been sadly neglected.

“I want to thank her for her wonderful commitment to Woman’s Hour, to Radio 4 in general, and for the passion she has shown for the topics explored during her time on the programme. I wish her the very best with her plans for the future.”

BBC director general, Tony Hall, said: "For more than three decades, Jenni has been an unmistakable and warm voice that has interviewed many of the most well-known women in the world, and helped illuminate issues that matter. The radio airwaves won't be the same without her.”

When will Dame Jenni leave Woman’s Hour?

Dame Jenni's final programme will be broadcast on 1 October.

Who will replace Dame Jenni on Woman’s Hour?

The person replacing Dame Jenni on Woman’s Hour has not yet been revealed, but the BBC has said that a new presenter will be announced in due course.