Mark Lawson leaves Radio 4's Front Row following 'bullying allegations'


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The Independent Online

The BBC arts presenter Mark Lawson is to leave Radio 4's Front Row programme after 16 years, citing “personal reasons.”

The broadcaster's departure follows what the BBC describes as “allegations of bullying among several staff in the BBC Radio Arts Unit”.

The 51-year-old, who has interviewed stars including Dame Helen Mirren, Robert De Niro and Woody Allen, has been the nightly arts show’s main presenter since it began in 1998.

Lawson said in a statement: “For personal reasons I shall be taking a break from live daily radio journalism.”

In his statement, Lawson said the decision to step down was a joint agreement with the BBC.

"It has been an extraordinary experience and privilege to work on the programme for 16 years and I very much hope to be able to return to work on Radio 4 in the future,” he added.

The BBC said: “We can confirm that Mark Lawson is leaving Front Row. He has been away from the programme for a month on medical advice.

“Front Row will continue to be presented by John Wilson and Kirsty Lang, alongside other guest presenters such as Tom Sutcliffe.”

A new series of the presenter's BBC Four interview show, Mark Lawson Talks To..., is due to start next week.

Lawson was hired by BBC Radio 4 when its arts programme rebranded from Kaleidoscope to Front Row in 1998. Since then he has, by his own estimate, conducted more than 3,000 interviews for the show. He has penned radio plays, written four novels and contributed to a range of newspapers including The Independent, Sunday Times and The Guardian, where he currently has a regular column.