Paul O’Grady: broadcaster announces BBC Radio 2 exit, reason why explained - who will replace him

The award-winning comedian and writer is best known for his award winning show For the Love of Dogs and drag queen persona Lily Savage, which went mainstream in the 1990s.

TV and radio star Paul O’Grady is leaving BBC Radio 2, it has been confirmed.

O’Grady will bring an end to his 14-years at the British broadcaster, where he has hosted his weekly show every Sunday since 2009.

His exit follows a string of popular BBC Radio 2 names leaving for pastures new, with the likes of Steve Wright, Tony Blackburn, Craig Charles and Vanessa Feltz losing timeslots.

But why is Paul O’Grady leaving BBC Radio 2 and when will his last show air? Here is everything you need to know.

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    When was it announced?

    BBC Radio 2 confirmed the news that Paul O’Grady was leaving at approximately 11 am on Tuesday, 9 August 2022.

    It posted a statement on social media, which read: “We’re sad to say that after 14 years on Sunday afternoons, Paul O’Grady has decided to leave Radio 2”.

    “We wish Paul the very best of luck and hope to work with him again in the future”.

    In a post published by Mr O’Grady, the star of For The Love of Dogs said: “I’ve loved doing my Sunday afternoon show for the last 14 years and I’m going to miss my listeners, as well as the fun I’ve had with my producer Malcolm Prince”.

    “But I feel that now is the right time to go,” he concluded.

    The announcement of the broadcaster’s departure came soon after a cryptic Instagram post that was published on Sunday, 8 August.

    Showing a picture of a microphone with the official BBC Radio 2 logo whilst referencing the hot-tempered weather that the country will experience after yet another extreme heat warning, O’Grady wrote: “Penultimate show today. Hope you’re enjoying the sun unless you are somewhere where it’s raining then ignore that.”

    Why is Paul O’Grady leaving BBC Radio 2?

    The defining reason as to why the Birkenhead-born broadcaster has left his post at BBC Radio 2 has not yet been confirmed.

    However, reports believe that ex-drag queen O’Grady is moving on to plan for future projects.

    How have fans reacted?

    Fans and regular listeners of Paul O’Grady were absolutely crushed by the news that he is leaving his role at BBC Radio 2.

    Reactions came pouring in on social media, such as @melv4243 who wrote: “Such a loss to Sunday afternoons :-(“.

    Whilst @emilybecca1992 could not hide their emotions and said: “Noooo! Not Paul’s show! Sundays will never be the same without it”.

    Some admitted their worry about the future of the radio station following a number of big departures, with @heidiiiij posting: “Nooooo……what is going on with the BBC, everyone is fleeing!”.

    When is his last show?

    Paul O’Grady will host his last afternoon BBC Radio 2 show on Sunday, 14 August 2022.

    It will start from 5 pm and can be listened to online via the official BBC website.

    The BBC have confirmed that the final show will still include all of O’Grady’s regular features such as ‘A Lost TV Theme’, ‘Thank You Letter of the Week’ and an unexpected playlist.

    Producer Malcolm Prince will then pick an unsuitable track to mark a wedding anniversary, as well as a speculative yet tasty-sounding cocktail recipe - but nothing about afternoon teas (despite it being Afternoon Tea Week!)

    Who will replace Paul O’Grady at BBC Radio 2?

    The London comic's appearances on MTW won him over legions of fans, and he continued to work with Ramesh Ranganathan as the pair explored the world on camera and highlighted the absurdities of life.

    BBC have stated that plans for the future of the Sunday time slot will be announced at a later date.

    But from Sunday, 21 August, comedian Rob Beckett will head on a 13-week run of Sunday afternoon shows.