John Inverdale is leaving BBC Radio 5 Live after 25 years, having been the “driving force” behind its launch in 1994 and an inspiration for its “tone and style”.
Inverdale carried out his final presenting duty for 5 Live in covering Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race, but will continue to work for BBC Sport.
A familiar face on TV, Inverdale was the first presenter of drive time programme 5 Live Drive, which was called John Inverdale Nationwide.
Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio and Music said: “John Inverdale is one broadcaster whose calm, warm, empathetic style is a masterclass in sports presentation and interviewing.
“He was a driving force behind the successful launch – of Radio 5 Live 25 years ago. In fact its very tone and style was based on John’s own presentation style.
“I worked alongside him for many years and have no hesitation is saying he has been the pre-eminent Radio Sports presenter of his generation – truly one of the ‘greats’.
“For more than thirty years he has brought the highs and lows of sporting endeavour to a grateful nation… He has done an amazing job for the BBC and we, and his listeners, will miss him.”
BBC Racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght said Inverdale was “One of the BBC’s greatest broadcasters” and his final day had been “emotional”.
He shared a picture of Inverdale (below) holding a cartoon drawing of him riding a horse, with the caption: “As great and as grey as Dessie,” a reference to famed English racehorse Desert Orchid.
#CheltenhamFestival: emotional day for @bbc5live racing team as peerless (overused word but not here) John #Inverdale hangs up #Festival mic 30 years after first as presenter; one of the BBC’s greatest broadcasters, has taught me so much & a joy to work alongside every March pic.twitter.com/GpwBdH7cff
— Cornelius Lysaght (@CorneliusRacing) March 15, 2019
It was announced today that Shennon will become the BBC’s managing director from next month.