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November 19, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:47am

Andrew Marr leaves BBC after 21 years to join LBC and Classic FM

By Charlotte Tobitt

Andrew Marr has said he is “keen to get my own voice back” as he revealed he is leaving the BBC after 21 years.

The veteran broadcaster has signed an exclusive deal to present new shows on LBC and Classic FM, both owned by Global, from next year.

On his LBC show, he will “give his view on the biggest issues of the moment” with “agenda-setting” guests. On Classic FM he will play music and interview guests from politics and the arts.

He will also present a weekly podcast for the Global Player audio streaming app, and write a regular column for the LBC website.

Marr, a former editor of The Independent and political editor of the BBC from 2000 to 2005, began presenting his own Sunday morning show in 2005. It was first called Sunday AM but renamed after its host in 2007. Marr also regularly presents on BBC Radio 4.

Marr said: “After 21 years, I have decided to move on from the BBC. I leave behind many happy memories and wonderful colleagues. But from the New Year I am moving to Global to write and present political and cultural shows, and to write for newspapers.

“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.

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“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!”

Marr took about nine months off air in 2013 after suffering a stroke. He later spoke about how he tried to conceal the impact it had on him while presenting his show: “You don’t want people to think, ‘Ooh, how is his left hand doing?’” he told the Radio Times. “You want them to be thinking about the questions I am asking and more importantly, the answers I am or am not getting.”

Marr also said: “Coming to Global gives me a new freedom – to do fast-paced, very regular political journalism on LBC with no filter, in entirely my own voice.

“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 follows in the footsteps of former BBC Radio 4 PM presenter Eddie Mair who left for LBC in 2018. Months later, BBC newsreader Moira Stuart moved to Classic FM.

Global’s executive president and founder Ashley Tabor-King said Marr’s arrival would see LBC take “its next step” and that he would be an “unmissable moment in the schedule”.

“Andrew is one of the finest and most respected broadcasters and journalists of our time and we are honoured to welcome him to the Global family, especially at a moment when we are celebrating record audience figures,” he said.

LBC reached a record 3m weekly listeners during the third quarter of 2021 – 10% more people than it reached in the first quarter of 2020. Hours and share for the station were also its highest ever.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said: “Andrew Marr has been a brilliant journalist and presenter during his time at the BBC.  He leaves an unmatched legacy of outstanding political interviews and landmark programmes. We wish him well for the next chapter.”

BBC director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth, who is herself leaving the corporation at the end of the year, said: “Throughout his long and distinguished career at the BBC, Andrew has been a firm favourite with our audiences.

“Andrew started at the BBC as a knowledgeable and insightful political editor, and went on to become a feature of the UK’s Sunday mornings, on Sunday AM, which became the Andrew Marr Show . He is a fantastic presenter and interviewer, whose wisdom and skill will be a loss to our screens.

“We thank him greatly for his years of service and wish him the best of luck in his new role.”

As well as Unsworth, Marr’s departure leaves another huge hole for the BBC amid reports that Laura Kuenssberg is preparing to step down from her role of political editor after six years. In addition Newsnight’s editor Esme Wren is leaving the BBC after three years to lead Channel 4 News.

Picture: Global

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