Paul O’Grady QUITS BBC Radio 2 show

BBC Radio 2 shake-up continues: Paul O’Grady becomes latest long-serving DJ to leave station as he QUITS show – months after Steve Wright, Tony Blackburn and Craig Charles lost slots

  • Paul O’Grady has quit his Radio 2 Sunday afternoon show after almost 13 years 
  • New schedule change now sees him share the slot with comedian Rob Beckett 
  • O’Grady’s last programme on the station will be on Sunday August 14 
  • Steve Wright, Tony Blackburn and Craig Charles also lost out in BBC shake-up

Paul O’Grady has quit his Radio 2 Sunday afternoon show after almost 13 years, becoming the latest long-serving DJ to leave the station after Steve Wright and Tony Blackburn lost their slots as the BBC shake-up continues.

The TV and radio presenter, 67, hosted the Sunday evening 5-7pm slot on Radio 2 since 2009, but a new schedule change now sees him share the slot with comedian Rob Beckett.

In a hint that the decision was taken out of his hands, O’Grady, also known by his drag queen persona Lily Savage, told his Instagram followers the new arrangement was ‘nothing to do with me’. 

His last programme on the station will be on Sunday August 14 as he comes to the end of his current 13-week run of shows.

O’Grady’s departure is the latest in a string of changes to the BBC Radio schedule, with several big names including Wright, Blackburn and Craig Charles all having lost slots in recent months. 

In a statement, he said: ‘I’ve loved doing my Sunday afternoon show for the last 14 years and I’m going to miss my listeners as well as the fun I’ve had with my producer Malcolm Prince, but I feel that now is the right time to go.’

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, added: ‘I’d like to thank Paul for so many years of his brilliant Sunday afternoon show. 

‘I’m sorry to see him go, but I wish Paul the very best of luck for the future and hope to work with him again as the door is always open to him here at Radio 2.’ 

Paul O'Grady has quit his Radio 2 Sunday afternoon show after almost 13 years

Paul O’Grady has quit his Radio 2 Sunday afternoon show after almost 13 years

O'Grady's departure is the latest in a string of changes to the BBC Radio schedule, with several big names including Steve Wright (pictured) having lost slots in recent months

O’Grady’s departure is the latest in a string of changes to the BBC Radio schedule, with several big names including Steve Wright (pictured) having lost slots in recent months 

Tony Blackburn

Craig Charles

Tony Blackburn and Craig Charles have also lost their slots in the ongoing BBC shake-up

The big-draw Radio 2 names now being ‘pushed aside by BBC bosses’ in shake-up 

STEVE WRIGHT

Radio 2 fans deplored the BBC’s decision to replace popular DJ Steve Wright with Radio 1’s Scott Mills as the corporation seeks to ‘try something different’.

As he exited Wogan House in July, donning a purple shirt, red striped tie and suit jacket, Wright told reporters it was ‘nice of you to come over’, adding: ‘That’s the way it goes… You know, sometimes people want you, sometimes they don’t. 

‘Sometimes they want to make changes, give you another offer, and that’s okay, I understand that, I really understand that.’

He will continue working for the broadcaster, promising ‘new projects’ in October. He will also still present Love Songs on Sunday mornings.

Fans of the DJ, who has been with the corporation for more than 40 years after joining in 1980 to present a Radio 1 Saturday night show, said they will stop listening to the afternoon slot when he leaves.

One called it a ‘diabolical’ decision, with another Tweeting: ‘Ending his show is a terrible mistake BBC. There goes your audience.’

Another listener said: ‘His show is honestly what gets me through my work each day. Once he’s gone, the radio will be turned off for good.’

TONY BLACKBURN

In June, Tony Blackburn attacked the BBC for its ‘strange’ decision to move his Radio 2 show.

The 79-year-old DJ appeared to blame the decision on ageism, saying in a post on social media ‘there’s a lot of it about’.

Blackburn learned that from mid-July his Golden Hour show would be moved from 7pm on Fridays to the same time on Sunday.

Blackburn criticised the ‘wacky’ decision on Twitter, and fans of the show flocked to support the former Radio 1 DJ. One commented that the BBC was ‘making a lot of mistakes’ by changing up the scheduling.

CRAIG CHARLES 

Craig Charles’ Radio 2 show on a Saturday night was axed as part of a major shake up of the BBC channel, sparking uproar from fans.

The star, 57, has presented his show Craig Charles’ House Party on Saturdays from 10pm to midnight since 2014.

In a series of other changes Drag Race star Michelle Visage will permanently join the station with a Friday slot from 7-9pm.

Craig said in the announcement from the BBC: ‘Every party must come to an end and although I’m packing up my Trunk of Funk on Radio 2, I’ve loved bringing the party to its funky listeners each Saturday night.’ 

VANESSA FELTZ 

Also in July, Vanessa Feltz quit her early morning breakfast show after nearly 20 years on air.

Feltz said she had to step down ‘to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep’ and use her ‘energy-boosting shut-eye’ to ‘frolic with her fiancé Ben Ofoedu ‘who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me.’

Breaking down on her show as she announced the news to her listeners, the star said she would ‘try not to cry’.

She said: ‘I have something to tell you, and I know you already know that I love you – oh I knew I was going to cry but I’m going to try not too… It has been an honour to share the early hours with you.’

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The star launched his weekly Sunday afternoon show in 2009, and for many years Paul ‘The Grinch’ O’Grady has hosted his Christmas Day special on the network featuring messages and dedications from listeners all over the world, as well as an eclectic seasonal playlist.

In February, after the schedule change prompted an unhappy response from listeners, the BBC said plans ‘evolve over time’.

‘Paul is much-loved by many of our listeners, and whilst we’re making this change to Sunday afternoons, he very much remains a firm favourite here in Wogan House,’ it said.

His final show will feature his regular features, including Lost TV Theme, the Thank You Letter Of The Week and an unexpected playlist. The BBC confirmed Beckett will return for at least another 13 weeks of shows from Sunday August 21.

It comes after Radio 2 fans deplored the BBC’s decision to replace popular DJ Steve Wright with Radio 1’s Scott Mills as the corporation seeks to ‘try something different’.

As he exited Wogan House in July, donning a purple shirt, red striped tie and suit jacket, Wright told reporters it was ‘nice of you to come over’, adding: ‘That’s the way it goes… You know, sometimes people want you, sometimes they don’t. 

‘Sometimes they want to make changes, give you another offer, and that’s okay, I understand that, I really understand that.’

In announcing his departure, Wright said he will have his final show in September and that the BBC has ‘always been fair and kind’ to him.

He will continue working for the broadcaster, promising ‘new projects’ in October. He will also still present Love Songs on Sunday mornings.

Fans of the DJ, who has been with the corporation for more than 40 years after joining in 1980 to present a Radio 1 Saturday night show, said they will stop listening to the afternoon slot when he leaves.

One called it a ‘diabolical’ decision, with another Tweeting: ‘Ending his show is a terrible mistake BBC. There goes your audience.’

Another listener said: ‘His show is honestly what gets me through my work each day. Once he’s gone, the radio will be turned off for good.’

‘He should’ve had his job for life,’ another added. Others called it a ‘big mistake’ and a ‘sad and bad move’ from the BBC.

However, the decision was also met with praise, with listeners saying that it was time for a change of host.

Also in July, Vanessa Feltz quit her early morning breakfast show after nearly 20 years on air.

Feltz said she had to step down ‘to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep’ and use her ‘energy-boosting shut-eye’ to ‘frolic with her fiancé Ben Ofoedu ‘who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me.’

Breaking down on her show as she announced the news to her listeners, the star said she would ‘try not to cry’.

She said: ‘I have something to tell you, and I know you already know that I love you – oh I knew I was going to cry but I’m going to try not too… It has been an honour to share the early hours with you.’

In June, Tony Blackburn attacked the BBC for its ‘strange’ decision to move his Radio 2 show.

The 79-year-old DJ appeared to blame the decision on ageism, saying in a post on social media ‘there’s a lot of it about’.

Blackburn learned that from mid-July his Golden Hour show would be moved from 7pm on Fridays to the same time on Sunday.

Blackburn criticised the ‘wacky’ decision on Twitter, and fans of the show flocked to support the former Radio 1 DJ. One commented that the BBC was ‘making a lot of mistakes’ by changing up the scheduling.

The Golden Hour move is part of wider changes to Radio 2 scheduling that sees Craig Charles’ Saturday House Party axed.

The channel will host new shows from RuPaul’s Drag Race UK judge Michelle Visage, Waterloo Road actress Angela Griffin and DJ Spoony. An insider said there were ‘a lot of unhappy DJs at the moment as a result’.

At the same time as BBC bosses try to remain popular with younger audiences, the corporation has also been beset by a host of big name departures over the past year. In an unforeseen exit, veteran broadcaster Andrew Marr revealed that he was leaving the BBC after 21 years, including 16 years fronting his own Sunday morning political programme, will join LBC and Classic FM.

He said he was ‘keen to get my own voice back’ and would now focus on presenting political and cultural radio shows and writing for newspapers.

In July, Vanessa Feltz quit her early morning breakfast show after nearly 20 years on air

In July, Vanessa Feltz quit her early morning breakfast show after nearly 20 years on air 

And in April, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker revealed he was leaving his £295,000-a-year role after six years to be lead anchor at Channel 5’s revamped news team.

His former Breakfast co-star Louise Minchin also left last year as she looked to spent more quality time with her family.

Following Walker’s departure, the BBC has dismissed the ‘brain drain’ of top talent ditching the broadcaster as ‘people come, people go’.

Insiders said there was always a ‘natural point where people move on’ but there are mounting fears the Corporation will be left with a lack of experienced presenters.

A BBC source told MailOnline: ‘People come, people go, but we have lots of existing talent and new and emerging stars and there is always a natural point where people move on.’

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