Richard Coles 'felt hurtled towards exit' by BBC amid Radio 4 departure
Coles left his BBC Radio 4 show after 12 years due to a change in recording location.
Richard Coles has spoken out about his departure from his long-running BBC Radio 4 show after the programme moved to Cardiff, meaning Coles was unable to continue working on it.
Speaking in this week's issue of Radio Times magazine, the former Reverend said: “I feel no ill will towards the BBC. It just... annoys me sometimes.” In the interview, he confirms that “is about as blistering as I usually get”.
After 12 years co-presenting Radio 4’s Saturday Live with Nikki Bedi, Coles left his post as co-presenter in March 2023 and described his departure as “a bit disappointing”.
He explains that it wasn't only the fact that the show was moving to Cardiff, which made it almost impossible for him to continue, but it was also the haste with which he was eased out, and the fact that his exit was kept from listeners until the last moment.
Describing it, he admits: “I felt rather hurtled towards the exit. Working for an organisation like the BBC, you devote your energies to it and yet they perhaps don’t always respond with similar devotion. It’s a great national institution, and more power to its elbow. It would just be nice if it could distinguish that elbow from its arse sometimes.”
The BBC said that it “invited both presenters to Cardiff to continue the programme” and “his departure was marked on the final show, and he was given space to say farewell to listeners on air”.
Coles's comments echo similar sentiments shared by Ken Bruce, who was the presenter of the biggest show on Radio 2 and has now moved to Greatest Hits – the same station that picked up another BBC Radio titan, Simon Mayo.
Bruce said: "There were times when I felt I wasn’t really noticed by either the BBC itself or some listeners. So I thought, ‘I’m going to make these people appreciate me.’ And having done that to my satisfaction, I felt it was time to give myself a little challenge, try something different, rather than become stale and wait for the axe."
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Coles's show's relocation to Cardiff is part of a major push by the BBC to spread projects further across the UK, where before there has been a disproportionate amount of opportunity in London.
At the time, Coles also told The Guardian: "I’d have preferred the programme to stay in London. I think it would be better. I was happy doing it and I think it’s gone from strength to strength.
"Moving it to Cardiff, I don’t really see how that works, but that’s not my decision – that’s other people’s decision."
- Rev Richard Coles: "Rushed" exit from BBC Radio 4 "feels a bit sad"
- Ken Bruce says he "stayed too long" at BBC Radio 2 after exit
As for now, Coles' current podcast The Rabbit Hole Detectives is now in its second series and he also has an upcoming live tour, which will be happening in autumn.
As for whether it's stand-up comedy or not, he told Radio Times: “It’s more sit-down, actually. I’ll be going round the country entertaining people – I hope – with hilarious stories of my life, as well as taking questions.
"It’s quite exciting – I’ve had a special picture taken and everything – but it will be whimsical rambles through my curriculum vitae. I won’t be dancing, I can promise you that.”
The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is out now, while Richard Coles's podcast, The Rabbit Hole Detectives, is also available to listen to now.
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