New BBC Woman’s Hour host revealed as Emma Barnett departs

Main presenter Emma Barnett will be leaving for the Today Programme

Ellie Muir
Thursday 18 April 2024 09:58 BST
Emma Barnett roasts conservative MP over Boris Johnson's policies

BBC Radio 4 has revealed that Nuala McGovern has been appointed the new host of Woman’s Hour ahead of the departure of main presenter Emma Barnett.

McGovern is already a much-loved voice for Woman’s Hour listeners, having previously hosted the programme in 2023 to cover Barnett’s maternity leave.

It was announced last month that Barnett, 39, would be leaving the Woman’s Hour for a role on Radio 4’s flagship early morning current affairs programmeToday.

McGovern has been appointed to present Woman’s Hour on Monday to Wednesday each week, and will start on Monday (13 May). She joins existing presenter Anita Rani, who will now present from Thursday to Saturday.

The incoming host said she was delighted to be chosen to take over from Barnett.

“It is a real privilege to present this extraordinary programme. I’m looking forward to working with the superb Woman’s Hour team on the rigorous journalism expected on women’s issues but also making time for escapism and fun.”

“I’m especially looking forward to getting back to the Woman’s Hour listeners, I have missed them,” she said.

Rani calledWoman’s Hour “the best gig in radio”.

Nuala McGovern and Anita Rani
Nuala McGovern and Anita Rani (Getty Images)

“Like our listeners, I love hearing Nuala when I’m not presenting. What a tag team we will be - time to take Woman’s Hour to the next level!” she added.

McGovern was the main presenter of Outside Source on the BBC World Service from 2014 to 2022 while Rani is one of the lead presenters on BBC’s Countryfile and is the author of the books The Right Sort of Girl and Baby Does a Runner.

Barnett, who has been at the helm of Woman’s Hour since January 2021, said that her ambition for the Today programme was to “keep asking the questions that listeners want answers to – as well as raising many smiles along the way – while armed with a very strong cup of tea.”

Outgoing Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett
Outgoing Woman’s Hour host Emma Barnett (Getty Images)

She will join Justin Webb, Mishal Husain, Amol Rajan and Nick Robinson on the early morning show.

“[Woman’s Hour] means a great deal to me and I want to thank the team and our mighty army of listeners for how much we have shared – the joy, wisdom, sorrow and sometimes sheer rage,” said Barnett.

She continued: “We are living in volatile times where sometimes even asking a question can seem risky – wrongly so.”

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