Glover returning from sabbatical to replace Mair on 'Broadcasting House'

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The Independent Online

Fi Glover is to be the new presenter of Radio 4's Sunday morning satirical news programme Broadcasting House .

Glover, an irreverent broadcaster who asked Jeffrey Archer if he knew the quality of the writing in his novels was "worse than The Sun ", is to take over the show in January from Eddie Mair, who has presented the programme since its launch five years ago.

Mair is to be the sole host of PM , the daily news show he co-presents four days a week.

Broadcasting House has been a surprise hit for Radio 4. Launched in April 1998 as part of the former controller James Boyle's controversial revamp of the station, it is a peculiar hybrid of straight newsand quirky commen t . It once encouraged listeners to send in impersonations of Alistair Cooke, the Letter From America presenter, saying, "Good morning". The real Mr Cooke entered, and came third.

The show was an initial flop; listeners used to hearing Sunday Worship in the 9am slot were appalled. But within three years Broadcasting House had doubled its listenership, giving the show a bigger audience than BBC1's Breakfast With Frost .

The most recent official audience figures gave an audience for Broadcasting House of 1.94 million.

Glover's style, a curious mix of bemusement, self-parody and cheekiness, is likely to endear itself to the show's listeners. She has a loyal core of fans who will be delighted she is returning to radio after a six-month sabbatical in New York, where she intended to write a book on American radio.

Glover, who is believed to have signed a five-figure, six-month contract, said: " Broadcasting House has been Eddie's programme. He shaped it. It will be very difficult stepping into his shoes. But I hope at least to be a mini-Mair."

Richard Clarke, editor of Broadcasting House , said he was "thrilled" to have signed her. "She is a person of genuine wit, warmth and individuality."

Glover is a former presenter on Radio 5 Live and the now defunct BBC Greater London Radio. Mair leaves the programme in a fortnight.

Broadcasting House will feature guest presenters including Mark Mardell, Gavin Esler and Peter White until Glover joins the show in January.