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March 4, 2019

Jonathan Dimbleby to leave BBC Radio 4 political debate show Any Questions? after 32 years

By Charlotte Tobitt

Jonathan Dimbleby will step down from his role hosting BBC Radio 4 political debate programme Any Questions? this summer after 32 years.

The journalist will end his tenure as the show’s host at the end of June, but is currently in discussion over other potential projects with the BBC.

Dimbleby said: “It has been a great privilege to have been in this role for so long and in the great broadcasting institution which is the BBC. It will be a wrench to leave. But the time feels right.

“For more than four decades I have been fortunate to combine presenting, reporting and interviewing for radio and television as well as writing books. I plan to remain as busy in the years ahead as I have been up to now.”

Any Questions? features debate from media, political and business figures as they answer topical questions sent in from members of the public.

Between 1988 and 2012 Dimbleby also presented Radio 4’s Any Answers? which sees listeners follow up on the issues discussed in Any Questions?

Since 2015 he has also presented the monthly BBC World Service programme World Questions.

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BBC director general Tony Hall said Dimbleby was an “absolutely outstanding” presenter who “has commanded the respect of the audience and panellists alike”.

“His sharp intellect and chairing skills have made Any Questions? essential listening.

“While he may be stepping down from this programme, I am delighted that we are in discussion with Jonathan about future projects with the BBC. I shall miss his travels round the country enormously.”

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams described Dimbleby as “one of Radio 4’s most distinguished and familiar presenters” and said she was “sorry to see him leave the programme”.

“Radio 4 has benefitted over so many years from the depth of his political knowledge and his great skill as a broadcaster,” she added.

“I know our audience trusts and values his experienced judgement each week as the hugely respected host of Any Questions?

“Personally I will miss his acumen and enthusiasm as he hurtles around the UK each week engaging audiences in challenging and nuanced exchanges with political leaders.”

Dimbleby, who has also spent time reporting and presenting for ITV, began his TV and radio career with BBC Bristol in 1969 before moving to Radio 4’s World at One in 1970.

He has since produced and presented a number of BBC shows and documentaries, including political programme On The Record, the Russia, Africa and South America “A Journey With Jonathan Dimbleby” programmes on BBC Two, and The BBC At War in 2015.

In December Dimbleby’s older brother, David, left his role presenting BBC Question Time after 25 years. He has said he also plans to work with the BBC on other projects as he returns to his first love: “reporting”.

Picture: BBC/Abigail Zoe Martin

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