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Vanessa Feltz to leave her Radio 2 and BBC Radio London shows

Vanessa Feltz is leaving her early-morning Radio 2 and BBC Radio London shows (Ian West/PA)
Vanessa Feltz is leaving her early-morning Radio 2 and BBC Radio London shows (Ian West/PA)

Vanessa Feltz has announced she is leaving her shows on Radio 2 and BBC Radio London after almost 20 years at the helm.

The broadcaster and TV personality, who is one of the BBC’s top earners, said she has “loved every moment” of her early-morning programmes but is stepping down to catch up on a “decade’s deficit of beauty sleep”.

She announced her departure to listeners on Thursday morning and said the roles have been “an honour and a privilege”.

She will present her last Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show on Friday.

ITV Palooza 2021 – London
Vanessa Feltz said she has ‘loved every moment’ of her early-morning shows but is stepping down to catch up on a ‘decade’s deficit of beauty sleep’ (Ian West/PA)

Following a two-week break she will cover Jeremy Vine for two further weeks and bid a final farewell to Radio 2 listeners on Friday August 26.

In a statement, Feltz said: “I have loved every moment with my Radio 2 ‘Early Birds’ and will miss my Lovely Listeners, Jolly Good Fellows and beloved friends and colleagues at Radio 2 with all my heart.

“However, after almost 12 blissful years, I now need to step down to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to be the breakfast voice of BBC Radio London for 20 years and, although I’m leaving the show, I’ll continue to expect hugs from my lovely listeners when I see them on the streets of London.”

She added: “I will enjoy a dollop of energy-boosting shut-eye to swing from ziplines with my three effervescent grandchildren and frolic with my fiance Ben, who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me.”

Audio and Radio Industry Awards – London
In recently released BBC figures, Vanessa Feltz was one of just three women in the top 10 highest paid on-air talent (Ian West/PA)

In recently released BBC figures, Feltz was one of just three women in the top 10 highest paid on-air talent, with her salary of £400,000-£404,999 putting her in eighth place.

Zoe Ball and Fiona Bruce were the other two female hosts to make the top 10 list.

Feltz began presenting the Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show in January 2011, from 5am-6.30am, which was extended to 4am from January 2021.

As well as covering daily news, her shows contained features including Famous Last Words, Jolly Good Fellows, The Feltz Philological Challenge and Early Bird Earworms.

During her time on the show she has won many awards including a Sony Gold in 2009 for BBC Radio London, two gold Gillard Awards and, in 2017 and 2022, the show won silver in the Best Speech Breakfast Show category at the Arias (The Radio Academy’s Audio and Radio Industry Awards).

Before taking over the breakfast show, Feltz presented a mid-morning phone-in programme on the station for 10 years, and from 2001 hosted a mid-afternoon phone-in show.

Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: “For almost 12 years, Vanessa has made her live weekday Early Breakfast Show her very own kingdom, and I’d like to thank her wholeheartedly for the thousands of middle-of-the-night starts she’s made to entertain the Radio 2 listeners.

“On behalf of them, as well as everyone in Wogan House, I’d like to send Lady V our very best wishes for the future.”

Chris Burns, controller local audio commissioning, said: “Every weekday Vanessa has breezed straight from her Radio 2 programme into the Radio London breakfast show, barely pausing for breath.

“She has effortlessly entertained her ‘lovely listener’ and sternly held the city’s and country’s decision-makers to account.

“The brightest spark you could ever meet – no matter how early it is and what’s going on in the news – to say Vanessa’s voice will be missed is an understatement.

“We wish her well and thank her dearly for her incredible service.”

Radio 2 and BBC Radio London will announce their new respective morning schedules at a later date, the BBC said.