Jenni Murray quits Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour after 33 years

The BBC presenter, now 70, said it was "time to move on" from the programme.

Jenni Murray

Dame Jenni Murray, BBC Radio 4’s longest-serving presenter, is set to leave Woman’s Hour after 33 years.

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The 70-year-old host, who interviewed the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Gordon Brown and Margaret Atwood is set to put down her mic at the start of October.

In a statement, Murray indicated she would “move on” to other projects.

“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,” she said.

“Saying goodbye will be very hard to do, but it’s time to move on.”

Tony Hall, the outgoing director-general of the BBC added: “Jenni Murray is a remarkable broadcaster and few have matched her outstanding contribution to the BBC and our audience.”

Mohit Bakaya, the controller of Radio 4, said: “Jenni is one of the most loved voices on Radio 4. For more than 30 years she has tackled important issues on behalf of listeners, opening up sometimes difficult conversations about the experience of women and shining a light on subjects that have often been sadly neglected.”

Before joining Woman’s Hour in 1987, Murray worked at BBC Radio Bristol and later became presenter BBC South’s nightly television news programme. She took over from Sue MacGregor as host of Woman’s Hour in 1987 and received a damehood in recognition of her contribution to broadcasting in 2011.

Murray memorably announced her breast cancer diagnosis on-air in 2006, later sharing her experiences of treatment with listeners.

The radio host courted controversy in 2017 due to her views on trans rights, writing that trans woman were not “real women”. In a Sunday Times piece, she also said she was “not transphobic or anti-trans” and called for respect protection from stigmatisation and violence for “transsexuals, transvestites, gays, lesbians and those of us who hold to the sex and sexual preference assumed at birth”.

In recent months, Murray has been forced to present from home due to coronavirus social distancing guidelines.

“In anticipation of my 70th birthday, I’m classified as old and vulnerable by decree and banned from my beloved workplace by the Government’s demand that we shelter and protect anyone who has passed the magic number,” she wrote in a Daily Mail column.

“I realise that the BBC has to be seen to comply with the lockdown rules. Nevertheless, it makes me furious that so many of us at the peak of our experience, wisdom and usefulness should be tucked away in such an ageist, discriminatory manner.”

A new Woman’s Hour host will be unveiled in due course, according to the BBC.

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Woman’s Hour is on 10am Monday to Friday on BBC Radio 4. If you’re looking for something to watch on TV, check out our TV Guide.