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Jane Garvey hosts final Woman’s Hour: ‘The programme needs to move on’

Jane Garvey

Jane Garvey has presented her final edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour after 13 years, saying the programme “needs to move on, and now it can”.

Garvey’s exit comes three months after her co-host Dame Jenni Murray left the long-running show after 33 years.

Emma Barnett, known from BBC Radio 5 Live and Newsnight, will step into the studio in the new year.

“Genuinely, this has been one of the toughest decisions of my life,” Garvey told listeners on Thursday.

“The reason I’m going is because I could have stayed, and I sometimes think, the hardest thing is to change when it’s actually the last thing you want to do, but it’s probably the best thing to do.

“It’s the best thing for the programme.”

She added: “Woman’s Hour is not just a radio programme, it’s one of the radio programmes, and I’ve had the chance to do it, and it’s just been an amazing privilege.

“But the programme needs to move on, and now it can, and that’s good.”

Writer Stella Duffy added: “I’m SO going to miss Jane Garvey” and that change is “hard and also very good for all of us. Wise choosing. Thank you Jane Garvey”.

Barnett, 35, will present from Mondays to Thursdays, with another new co-host set to join for the Friday and Saturday editions.

Earlier in December, Garvey, 56, told the Daily Telegraph that the second new host should be someone else in their 50s.

“Emma is in her 30s and that’s great,” she said. “It will give the programme a real energy, which I think is brilliant, and Emma is brilliant.

“So I think the person working alongside her should be somebody nearer my age to make sure we give the audience as broad a range of life experience and interests as possible. I would prefer it if the other presenter were in her 50s.”

Garvey will present a new interview programme on Radio 4 from the spring.

On Thursday, she told listeners that hosting Woman’s Hour had taught her a lot about social history and feminism.

“I’d wanted to become a radio presenter, and I’d become a radio presenter, and so I’d think, what are people complaining about?” she said.

“And during the course of this cataclysmic 13 years on Woman’s Hour, I have learned that actually, for all sorts of reasons, women have to be that bit better, we have to try harder, it’s going to be a bit tougher for us, and I really am glad that I’ve been able to play a small part in just opening up a whole range of conversations.”

Garvey has also been a leading voice in the campaign for equal pay at the BBC in recent years.

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