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TV & Radio

Sarah Kennedy denies drink problem rumours

Presenter Sarah Kennedy today hit back at rumours her departure from BBC Radio 2 was due to a drinking problem, insisting she was always "stone cold sober" on air.

The BBC announced Kennedy was leaving the station earlier this month after more than 20 years of "sterling service".

But Kennedy, who hosted the early morning Dawn Patrol show for 17 years, spoke out after senior BBC radio sources told the Daily Telegraph she was forced out of the station over concerns about her drinking.

She told the newspaper: "I have never, never, never in my life gone into the BBC other than being stone cold sober."

The veteran presenter admitted she sounded "slurred" during one show at the start of August, but said it was due to a lack of sleep.

In July, fellow Radio 2 DJ Dermot O'Leary was reprimanded by BBC bosses for an on-air jibe that drinking vodka to avoid smelling of alcohol was the "Sarah Kennedy get-out".

This came after Radio 1 breakfast show host Chris Moyles mocked Kennedy at an industry event in December 2009 by doing an impression of a drunk.

Kennedy insisted she had "no quibble" with the BBC but added that she had an enemy at the broadcaster who had "got it in for her".

She said: "Chris Moyles I've never met. Dermot O'Leary I've never met. Yet they're believing these urban myths. I got up for 17 years on orange juice or water. I wish someone would stick up for me."

Kennedy first joined Radio 2 in 1976 to present request show Family Favourites, after cutting her broadcasting teeth in Singapore.

She went on to find TV fame in Game For A Laugh with Matthew Kelly, Henry Kelly and Jeremy Beadle.

Kennedy launched her Dawn Patrol show in January 1993.

Her tenure at Radio 2 has not been without incident, with a number of on-air gaffes. In 2007 the BBC apologised for any upset caused after she made a comment about being unable to see a black man in a dark street until he opened his mouth.