Dame Jenni Murray quits Woman's Hour after 33 years

Dame Jenni Murray quits Woman’s Hour after 33 years – making her the longest-serving presenter in the show’s 74-year history

  • Jenni Murray, 70, will step down from role at the start of October after 33 years
  • Dame Jenni said ‘it’s been a privilege and delight’ host the largely-growing show
  • Interviewed famous women including Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher

Dame Jenni Murray is leaving BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour – having been the longest-serving presenter in the show’s 74-year history.

The 70-year-old broadcaster will step down from the role at the start of October after becoming a regular host of the programme in 1987.

In a statement released last night, Dame Jenni said: ‘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. Saying goodbye will be very hard to do, but it’s time to move on.’

Dame Jenni Murray (pictured) is leaving BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour – having been the longest-serving presenter in the show’s 74-year history

During her 33 years on Woman’s Hour, Dame Jenni has interviewed a host of famous women including Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Bette Davis, Benazir Bhutto, Dame Judi Dench, Monica Lewinsky and Joan Baez.

According to sources, her departure is her own decision as she wanted the ‘freedom to do loads of other things’.

Dame Jenni is understood to want to do more writing work as well as new television and radio projects. She has published a number of books, most recently taking an honest look at her weight issues.

The BBC said she was ‘moving onto a new stage in her long and distinguished broadcasting career’.

 The 70-year-old broadcaster will step down from the role at the start of October after becoming a regular host of the programme in 1987. During her time there, she interviewed Nicole Kidman

Jenni Murray was made a Dame Commander by the Queen during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2011

Her exit comes after ex-Radio 4 Midweek host Libby Purves warned earlier this year that the station faces an existential threat after losing a number of its most respected voices. She said some listeners would think ‘protective sandbags should urgently be thrown’ around Jenni Murray and Jim Naughtie to ‘prevent further erosion’.

Director-general Tony Hall said: ‘Jenni Murray is a remarkable broadcaster and few have matched her outstanding contribution to the BBC and our audience.’ The BBC has yet to name her replacement but there will be speculation over whether it will appoint a different type of presenter aimed at attracting a younger audience.

Dame Jenni came under fire in 2017 after an article she wrote for The Sunday Times was headlined: ‘Be trans, be proud – but don’t call yourself a “real woman”.’ The piece was criticised by charity Stonewall.

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