Anita Rani: It’s an honour to be joining Woman’s Hour

Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent
·2-min read

Anita Rani has been unveiled as the second host of Woman’s Hour, as Radio 4 “continues to seek ways” to “be relevant to the audience across the UK”.

Emma Barnett has already joined the BBC show, presenting from Monday to Thursday.

Countryfile star Rani will present the Friday and Saturday editions of the programme, starting this week.

Rani said she is delighted to be joining the “mothership”.

“I’ve long been a fan of Woman’s Hour and admired the presenters who have hosted the show previously, so I cannot wait to become part of it myself,” she said.

“I am really looking forward to getting to know the listeners and discussing issues that matter to them the most.

“Woman’s Hour has always given a voice to people who may not be heard elsewhere and I want to continue that important tradition. What an honour and what a way to kick off the weekend.”

Emma Barnett on her first day hosting Woman’s Hour on Radio 4
Emma Barnett on her first day hosting Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 (BBC Radio 4/PA)

Her appointment came as Radio 4 controller Mohit Bakaya said he wants “Radio 4 to continue to seek ways to better reflect and be relevant to the audience across the UK…

“Woman’s Hour has a special role in this when it comes to subjects and stories that matter to women,” he added.

“I am delighted Anita Rani is joining the programme.

“She brings a wealth of broadcasting experience as well as a perspective and insight that will be valuable when exploring the issues facing women today.

“With Emma Barnett and Anita presenting, Woman’s Hour couldn’t be in better hands.”

Dame Jenni Murray
Dame Jenni Murray (Amanda Searle/BBC/PA)

Rani is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 2. At the age of just 14 she had her own radio show on Sunrise Radio in Bradford.

She has presented several documentaries for the BBC, including Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry, and she fronts War On Plastic alongside Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

In 2020, Rani revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage in 2018, saying she was glad to have brought what was a “taboo” subject into the open.

Barnett became Woman’s Hour’s main host in early January after Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray decided to quit.

The new host hit the headlines after her debut when actress Kelechi Okafor pulled out of the programme.

Okafor had been due to speak to Barnett about the Me Too movement but tweeted saying she had decided not to appear, after overhearing the presenter “talking shit about me to the producers”.

Barnett issued a statement on Twitter saying she “stands by my questions to my team and to Kelechi”.