The award-winning broadcasters Victoria Derbyshire and Shelagh Fogarty are to leave BBC 5 Live whilst Adrian Chiles returns to present a morning show, in changes which the BBC said did not signal the return of “Radio Bloke”.
The news and sports station, which turned 20 this year, was criticised for its lack of appeal to women. However the presence of Derbyshire and Fogharty in high-profile daytime shows did much to change that perception.
Derbyshire, who has been linked to new roles at both ITV and BBC News, said she was leaving to pursue a “brilliant opportunity”. Fogarty is pursuing new roles outside the corporation.
Chiles, the ITV football host, who was a member of 5 Live’s launch team, returns to present 5 Live Daily in the 10am to 1pm slot on Mondays and Tuesdays, with Peter Allen hosting for the rest of the week.
Tony Livesey, the former Sunday Sport editor-in-chief, is given a prominent new role co-presenting the afternoon Drive show with Anna Foster.
The representation of female voices in 5 Live’s most high-profile slots may be considered by the BBC Trust which instructed Tony Hall, the Director-General, to put more women on air “as a matter of urgency”.
Eleanor Oldroyd’s new one-hour Friday afternoon sports debate show will be the only 5 Live programme fronted solely by a woman.
The BBC said 5 Live would continue to showcase a strong line-up of female broadcasters. Sarah Brett of BBC Northern Ireland will join Dan Walker, the Football Focus presenter, to co-host a news-led afternoon show.
Georgie Thompson is to co-host the Fighting Talk sports punditry programme with Josh Widdicombe.
Richard Bacon joins the 5 Live exodus and will leave his afternoon show to front a search for Britain’s best amateur artist on BBC1 with Una Stubbs.
Victoria Derbyshire said: “It's a huge wrench to leave 5 live where listeners and I have shared so many experiences, and I would like to thank them enormously for trusting me. As to what I'm doing next - well I've been offered a brilliant opportunity too good to turn down.”
Shelagh Fogarty said: “I’m very sad to be leaving but it's definitely time to do so. I'm spending the Summer exploring a number of opportunities, before deciding what's next.”
Jonathan Wall, BBC Radio 5 live controller, said: “This Autumn feels the right time to refresh parts of our schedule as we follow-on from what’s already proving to be a wonderful sporting summer.
“Victoria, Shelagh and Richard have all played such key roles delivering fantastic live radio and I wish them every success with their future projects.”