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Claudia Winkleman to step down from hosting BBC Radio 2 show next year

Claudia Winkleman has announced she is stepping down from hosting her Saturday morning BBC Radio 2 show next year (PA)
Claudia Winkleman has announced she is stepping down from hosting her Saturday morning BBC Radio 2 show next year (PA)

Claudia Winkleman has announced she is stepping down from hosting her Saturday morning BBC Radio 2 show next year.

After three years of helming the 10am to 1pm slot, the broadcaster announced on the show on December 2 that she will present her last edition in March.

Comedian and actor Romesh Ranganathan, who currently hosts a show on the station from midnight to 1am on Saturdays, will take over Winkleman’s timeslot in April.

Winkleman said: “I absolutely love Radio 2 and it’s been a privilege to host the Saturday morning show for three years.

“I will miss our amazing guests, our brilliant listeners and the one and only Sally Traffic.

“The truth is my children are growing up inordinately fast so I have decided to follow them around at home before they leave for good.

“I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who works on the show, I will continue to visit with badly made biscuits and will pester the bosses to present the odd special.”

She added that she “couldn’t be happier” that Ranganathan who be taking over from her on Saturday mornings.

“He is brilliantly laugh out loud funny, and I’ll listen every single week as my kids beg me to leave them alone”, she added.

The presenter shares three children with her husband, film producer Kris Thykier.

Announcing the news at the start of her show on Saturday, Winkleman said her daughter is getting ready to leave home but she still has a “little one who wants to be with me”.

She added: “I don’t know how long that will last and I just need to be at home more.”

Strictly Come Dancing 2023
Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly host Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

Winkleman joined BBC Radio 2 in 2008 to host comedy quiz series Hot Gossip before moving to Friday nights to host the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show.

In 2016, she began presenting Claudia On Sunday and moved to her Saturday morning slot in February 2021, replacing Irish broadcaster Graham Norton who moved to present a show on Virgin Radio.

She currently co-hosts Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daly and helms the hit BBC psychological competition Traitors, which is returning for series two next year.

Winkleman did not feature on the BBC’s highest-earners list this year because her salary includes pay for her role on Strictly Come Dancing, which is a BBC Studios production run externally to the BBC.

Following the news of her departure from Radio 2, friends and famous faces sent messages to Winkleman, with presenter Rylan Clark commenting on Radio 2’s Instagram post: “Gonna miss u claud”, while podcaster and actress Giovanna Fletcher hailed her as a “legend”.

On taking over the slot, Ranganathan said: “In my many years working as a maths teacher thinking ‘what would happen if I gave this up’, I never imagined I’d be sandwiched between Dermot O’Leary and Steve Wright on the UK’s most popular radio station every Saturday morning.

“I’m grateful to Claud for wanting to spend more time with her kids, and enabling me to spend less time with mine, and I look forward to finding out what the nation is up to at that time, as well as speaking to some familiar faces. It’s going to be fun. Probably.”

He will continue to host his current Radio 2 show, The Love Of Hip Hop, for which he won the best specialist music show this year at the Radio Academy Aria Awards.

The comedian has also fronted a number of series including The Misadventures Of Romesh Ranganathan, The Ranganation, A League Of Their Own and quiz show The Weakest Link.

Head of Radio 2 Helen Thomas said: “I’d like to thank Claudia for entertaining her millions of listeners each Saturday morning with such sparkling wit and great warmth.

“Radio 2 listeners can rest easy as we’re working on a plan for some specials in the future, so watch this space.

“I’m delighted to welcome Romesh to his new Saturday morning show on Radio 2.

“Judging by the audience’s reaction to him at Radio 2 in the Park in Leicester this year, he’s already a firm favourite with our listeners.

“Like Claud before him, he’ll guarantee your Saturday mornings continue to be an appointment to listen.”

BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, thanked Winkleman for “all the laughs” she has given listeners over the last three years as she hailed her as one of the broadcaster’s “most-loved presenters”.

She added: “Romesh is hugely popular with BBC audiences so I’m thrilled that he will be bringing his own unique sense of humour to Saturday mornings on Radio 2. I can’t wait to hear his new show.”

Winkleman’s departure marks the latest in a number of high-profile presenters leaving or moving slots on BBC Radio, including Ken Bruce, who left Radio 2 in March having presented his mid-morning programme for more than three decades and began a new show on Greatest Hits Radio in April – taking with him his popular music quiz PopMaster.