‘Exhausted’ Vanessa Feltz tells the JC why she is stepping down from her BBC roles

EXCLUSIVE: The star presenter is looking forward to catching up on lost sleep


Broadcaster Vanessa Feltz has spoken exclusively to the JC of her decision to quit her two BBC Radio programmes after more than two decades.

The star said she felt “absolutely exhausted” after announcing her departure to her millions of listeners on Thursday.

Feltz told fans she would be leaving her early breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 the following day. After a two-week break, the 60-year-old will then cover Jeremy Vine’s show for a fortnight as planned, from August 15 until August 26, which will also mark her final BBC Radio London show.

Following the shock announcement, an emotional Feltz told the JC: “I’m feeling very sad. It has been an extremely tiring day for me today. There can’t be many people who have to make not just one, but two different farewell speeches in a single day."

Feltz has presented shows on BBC Radio London since 2001 and Radio 2 since 2011.

However, the loquacious TV and radio personality, famed for her forthright style, declined to discuss her next move following her departure announcements.

When the JC asked her if she has other projects lined up, she replied: “I’m not going to say anything about that, sorry.”

Radio 2 controller Helen Thomas said she wanted to thank the broadcaster “wholeheartedly for the thousands of middle-of-the-night starts she's made to entertain the Radio 2 listeners”.

Feltz told listeners on air she had "loved every moment" and would miss her "beloved" listeners and colleagues.

But, she said, she had to step down "to catch up on a much-needed decade's deficit of beauty sleep".

Colleague Zoe Ball said everyone at Radio 2 was "in tears" after Feltz announced her departure

While Feltz's Radio 2 show features music, her BBC Radio London show is speech-based, with news items and calls from listeners.

The presenter said it had been "an honour and privilege to be the breakfast voice of BBC Radio London for 20 years".

"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.

Feltz said she was looking forward to being able to sleep for longer in the mornings after her two shows come to an end.

"I will enjoy a dollop of energy-boosting shut-eye to swing from zip-lines with my three effervescent grandchildren and frolic with my fiancé Ben, who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me!" she said.

Feltz is one of the highest-paid radio presenters at the BBC, earning more than £400,000 for hosting her two daily radio shows.

It has not yet been revealed who will replace her, but the BBC said schedule announcements would follow in due course.

Speaking on the Radio 2 breakfast show after Feltz announced her departure, Zoe Ball described her fellow presenter as "always glamorous and quite possibly the cleverest person I know".

Ball said: "I'm not going to lie, we are all in tears at Radio 2. She's always been outrageous and the hardest-working lass.

"Wherever she goes next, whatever she does, she will be golden at it and they'll be very lucky to have her. We will give her the bumps at some point."

Chris Burns, the controller of 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 listeners’ and sternly held the city's and country's decision makers to account."

Feltz began presenting Radio 2's early breakfast show in January 2011, from 5 am to 6.30 am, which was extended to 4 am in January 2021.

Before taking over the BBC Radio London breakfast show in January 2016, Feltz presented the mid-morning show on the station, and the mid-afternoon slot prior to that.

Feltz also regularly appears on ITV's This Morning, writes a newspaper column in the Daily Express and has previously taken part in Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing.

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