5 Live controller Jonathan Wall defends changes to the station

Wall refutes suggestions that there are now too few women on the station – or that presenters have left because they don’t want to move to the BBC's new Salford HQ

Jonathan Wall, the controller of 5 Live, has defended the changes to his network’s schedule which has seen the departure of key presenters Richard Bacon, Shelagh Fogarty and Victoria Derbyshire.


Wall took to Twitter today to refute the suggestion that there are now too few women on the network. In an exchange with journalist Miranda Sawyer he cited the names of a number of female 5 Live presenters on his station:

He then added:

Wall also denied the suggestion that the decision of Bacon, Fogarty and Derbyshire to leave was because of a new BBC rule insisting that all presenters live in the North West.

In response to Sawyer’s Tweet…

….Wall used the 5 Live Twitter feed to reply:

While admitting that it is a “sad time” to be saying goodbye to Bacon, Fogarty and Derbyshire, Wall was full of praise for the newcomers who will lead the new schedule when it debuts on 6 October.

Welcoming the bigger role given to Adrian Chiles, who will present 5 live Daily on Mondays and Tuesdays in addition to hosting the Drive show on Fridays, Wall wrote on his blog: “He’s a real all-rounder and has told me, on the phone from Brazil, how excited he is by this opportunity.”

The shake-up also sees a promotion for weekend breakfast presenter Tony Livesey who moves from 5 live Weekend Breakfast to join current presenter Anna Foster on 5 live Drive every Monday to Friday from 4pm to 7pm.

Wall said: “He’s a good journalist and a real natural in a radio studio. I know he and Anna Foster will form a great partnership.”

The controller added that Dan Walker, the presenter of BBC1’s Football Focus, will make a formidable partnership with BBC Northern Ireland’s Sarah Brett when he joins her on Afternoon Edition from 1pm to 4pm.


“Sarah is the best new radio news presenter in the UK and is brilliant at interviewing and handling live radio. Dan has impressed us with his creativity on Friday night sport and, after hearing the stunning documentary he produced and presented for us from Camp Bastion earlier this year, I knew he would be perfect for this show. Dan and Sarah gelled together brilliantly in their pilot and I am looking forward to hearing them and our listeners together in the afternoons on 5 live.”