Danny Baker back on air after Thursday's rant at BBC bosses


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The Independent Culture

Presenter Danny Baker took to the airwaves today for the first time since his on-air rant against BBC bosses.

The DJ quit his BBC London 94.9 show live on air on Thursday and went on a two-hour tirade against station chiefs after learning his regular daily show is to be canned.

Baker, due to be honoured with a top broadcasting award in only a few days, began his apparently unaffected Radio 5 Live show this morning by saying "it does seem odd (to be back) after the maelstrom of the week".

The 55-year-old told listeners he was considering stopping a regular feature on the show called the sausage sandwich game.

"While it's at its best, always cut it off at the knees," he said. "I find that is the way things are done these days."

And after a segment which featured a man predicting football scores using a didgeridoo, he joked: "This is what my other station feel they can do without."

In his rant on Thursday, Baker complained about the pay his co-hosts were given and said he hoped the decision-makers choked on their abacus beads.

He used his entire programme to sound off about the decision which he blamed on cost-cutting, and added: "By the way, nice way to treat a bloke who had cancer."

Two years ago he announced he was diagnosed with cancer and had a period off-air while he underwent a period of treatment but bounced back to resume his presenting career.

Figures such as comic Ross Noble and broadcaster Stephen Fry were among those who criticised the decision to axe the show.

And Rob Brydon said sarcastically: "Glad that BBC are axing Danny Baker's daily radio show. I've had it up to here with his wit, warmth and originality."

Baker told listeners: "We don't want to leave but we're being told to leave by people we've never met who don't listen to the show and certainly don't listen to you.

"We're laughing on the outside but crying on the inside. The station has cancelled the show."

The BBC is said to have taken the decision in an effort to "refresh" the schedules.

But Baker's agent Alex Armitage claimed Baker was being dropped as a result of cuts in the budget to the local radio network.

He added: "Personally I think it is crazy. Danny is one of the greatest broadcasters in the country and this show is one of the jewels in the crown of the local radio network. I'm simply astonished."

Confirming his departure from the afternoon show on BBC London 94.9, a BBC spokeswoman said Baker would leave at the end of the year.

"Danny's still very much part of the BBC with his Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 Live and we're currently in discussions with him about options for a weekly programme," she added.

But Baker immediately hit back with a message on Twitter: "BBC London and I are NOT 'in discussion' about a new weekly show. In fact, I haven't heard a single word from them at all."

A BBC spokesman said: "Discussions have been taking place with Danny Baker's management company for some time about him leaving his afternoon show on BBC London 94.9.

"This has included conversations about Danny presenting a weekly programme. Danny is a huge talent and we would very much like him to continue to be a part of the station.

"The decision wasn't driven by savings. All stations from time to time refresh their schedules and this is no different."