Andrew Marr to leave BBC after 21 years

by 24britishtvNov. 19, 2021, 4 p.m. 22
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Andrew Marr has announced he is leaving the BBC after 21 years – including 16 presenting his BBC Sunday morning show – amid a major reshuffle at the broadcaster.

He said he would focus on writing and presenting political and cultural shows for the media company Global and writing for newspapers, adding that he was looking forward to having greater freedom to express himself outside the strict impartiality rules at the BBC.

“I think British politics and public life are going to go through an even more turbulent decade and, as I’ve said, I am keen to get my own voice back. I have been doing the Andrew Marr show every Sunday morning for 16 years now and that is probably more than enough time for anybody,” he tweeted.

Marr said he would “leave behind many happy memories and wonderful colleagues” at the public broadcaster.

Which of them will step into his shoes is likely to be the focus of speculation in the coming weeks.

The expectation among BBC staff had been that Marr would stay for another two years but he is thought to have been in discussions with Global for some time.

His departure is part of a game of musical chairs among leading presenters and journalists, with executives trying to find roles for them. Jon Sopel recently returned from Washington DC, where he will be replaced as BBC North America editor by the Scotland editor, Sarah Smith.

The political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, is in discussions about stepping down and finding a new home, potentially as a presenter on the Today programme. This could leave the Radio 4 morning show with too many presenters, causing some to look elsewhere.

Nick Robinson has long been tipped as a potential successor to Marr in the Sunday morning politics slot, while Mishal Husain’s name has been suggested as a potential successor to Huw Edwards as the host of the flagship News at Ten programme if suggestions that he – like Marr – is planning to end his long association with the BBC prove accurate.

The BBC’s director general, Tim Davie, said Marr had been a “brilliant journalist and presenter” who left an “unmatched legacy of outstanding political interviews and landmark programmes”. Welcoming him to his new role, Global’s founder and executive president, Ashley Tabor-King, called Marr “one of the finest and most respected broadcasters and journalists of our time”.

At Global, Marr promised “fast-paced, very regular political journalism … with no filter, in entirely my own voice” on the radio station LBC.

And he said: “On Classic FM, I’ll be exploring my love of classical music, and culture generally, with some surprising guests. I feel I’m joining a young, hungrily ambitious and exciting company and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Marr would host an opinion-led programme on LBC which would see him “give his view on the biggest issues of the moment” alongside guests, Global said. He will also present a new programme on Classic FM, playing music and interviewing guests from the world of politics and arts, host a weekly podcast on Global Player and write a regular column for the LBC website.

Marr was born in Glasgow and began his career at the Scotsman newspaper. In 1984, he moved to London to work as a parliamentary correspondent for the newspaper, before becoming a political correspondent.

He joined the Independent in 1986 as a member of its launch staff, before leaving for the Economist, where he ultimately became the political editor. Marr returned to the Independent as political editor in 1992 and became the editor in 1996. He oversaw radical changes in its format in a bid to halt a decline in readership figures.

He left in early 1998, with some reports suggesting he was sacked, and took roles at different papers before arriving at the BBC in May 2000.

The journalist has been a staunch defender of the broadcaster’s independence in the past, telling the Guardian last year he believed there was a “drive on to destroy the BBC”.

He said: “The Murdoch empire and others are trying to push us towards a world in which the BBC is pretty marginal and people are getting most of their news and their views from privately funded television companies, as in America.”

Marr was taken to hospital in January 2013 after suffering a stroke at home but returned to host his show later that year. In 2018, he declared “it’s good to be back” after undergoing an operation to have a cancerous tumour removed from his kidney.

James Rea, the director of broadcasting and content at Global, said: “It is fantastic to welcome a broadcaster of Andrew’s calibre to Global.

“We are looking forward to him bringing his sharp political insight to LBC at such an exciting time for the station and his passion for classical music and the arts to Classic FM.

“I know that our audience will enjoy listening and interacting with him from next year.”

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