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Jane Garvey reveals she left Woman’s Hour because she was getting ‘too cosy’

Jane Garvey has revealed she left Woman’s Hour because she was getting too ‘cosy’ – adding that she has always found Radio 4 listeners a ‘puzzling breed.’

The broadcaster, 56, signed off her final show after 13 years on January 1 – declaring that it ‘needs to move on and now it can’ – and has now been replaced with Emma Barnett.

‘I only left because I could have stayed, cosy in my velvety rut,’ she said, speaking to Radio Times. ‘And I’m not sure that would have been a good thing for me or the programme, which is approaching its 75th birthday this autumn.’   

She went on to say that when she started presenting Woman’s Hour in 2007, she was made to feel ‘about as welcome as a woman who arrives in a remote village and immediately assumes control of the WI without so much as a by-your-leave.’ 

Jane Garvey (pictured), 56, has revealed she left Woman’s Hour because she was getting too ‘cosy’ – adding that she has always found Radio 4 listeners a ‘puzzling breed’ 

The broadcaster has now been replaced with Emma Barnett. Pictured, on her first day hosting Woman's Hour on Radio 4

The broadcaster has now been replaced with Emma Barnett. Pictured, on her first day hosting Woman’s Hour on Radio 4

‘My sins were manifold, but chief among them was the undeniable fact that I was not somebody else,’ she continued. ‘Dedicated listeners to Radio 4 are what you might call “resistant to change”.  

I have always found them a somewhat puzzling breed: I love radio, ALL radio, and while there’s a lot to admire about a great deal of what Radio 4 has to offer, it’s never been the only thing I listen to. Good job I didn’t say that in 2007 — things would have been even worse.’

During Emma’s first time hosting the radio show last Monday, she read out a special message from the Queen, who had sent her ‘best wishes’ to mark the 75th year of the BBC‘s Woman’s Hour.  

It said: ‘As you celebrate your 75th year, it is with great pleasure that I send my best wishes to the listeners and all those associated with Woman’s Hour.  

During this time, you have witnessed and played a significant part in the evolving role of women across society, both here and around the world. 

Jane Garvey's interview appears in this week's issue of Radio Times. Pictured, the cover

Jane Garvey’s interview appears in this week’s issue of Radio Times. Pictured, the cover

In this notable anniversary year, I wish you continued success in your important work as a friend, guide and advocate to women everywhere.’

Commenting on the moment she heard the message from Her Majesty being read out, Jane told the publication she was ‘sat seething at home, arguing with a teenager about a malfunctioning printer.’

‘Terrific,’ she joked. ‘Thirteen years on that beat and I never once heard a word from Her Maj. I resisted the temptation to dive straight into the biscuit barrel in despair, but only just.’

Following her decision to leave Radio 4, Jane previously told listeners: ‘During the course of these cataclysmic years on Woman’s Hour, I’ve learnt that actually, for all sorts of reasons, women have to be that bit better, we have to try harder (than men), it’s going to be a bit tougher for us.’

Dame Jenni Murray, 70, also left the programme.

Jane said: ‘It’s not just a radio programme. It’s one of ‘the’ radio programmes and I’ve had a chance to do it. The programme needs to move on and now it can.’

Last month she said it was in danger of focusing on topics such as the transgender debate at the expense of issues that mean most to listeners.

The radio host also said she did not think the audience believed the subject was the ‘most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about’.

The show's host Emma Barnett (pictured) read out a special message from Her Majesty on her first episode (pictured)

The show’s host Emma Barnett (pictured) read out a special message from Her Majesty on her first episode (pictured)

When she was asked by a listener whether it was time to have more interviews with transgender and gender-fluid people on the programme, she replied: ‘Well, in answer to that, over the last couple of years I have interviewed more trans-women than trans-men on Woman’s Hour.

‘So that tells you something and people need maybe to think a little bit about that.’

She added: ‘I have also been called anti-trans and anti-women. I’ve been called too feminist. I’ve been called not feminist enough.’

‘It is genuinely a very, very, difficult area. We are never going to please everybody listening when we talk about it.

‘I’d also have to say from a purely practical perspective, is this the issue that vexes our audience more than any other?

‘Do they think of it as the most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about? No! I honestly don’t think they do.’  


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