Claudia Winkleman reveals emotional reason she’s quitting Saturday show on BBC Radio 2

Claudia Winkleman has announced that she is stepping down from hosting her Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 2 after three years.

Presenting on Saturday (2 December) morning, the Strictly Come Dancing host shared that she would be leaving Radio 2 in March 2024 to spend more time with her family.

Winkleman, who currently presents the 10am-1pm slot on Saturdays, will be replaced by comedian Romesh Ranganathan.

She said: “I absolutely love Radio 2 and it’s been a privilege to host the Saturday morning show for three years. I will miss our amazing guests, our brilliant listeners and the one and only Sally Traffic.

“The truth is my children are growing up inordinately fast so I have decided to follow them around at home before they leave for good. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who works on the show, I will continue to visit with badly made biscuits and will pester the bosses to present the odd special.”

She added: “I couldn’t be happier that Romesh is taking over Saturday mornings on Radio 2. He is brilliantly laugh out loud funny, and I’ll listen every single week as my kids beg me to leave them alone.” Winkleman shares three children with film producer husband Kris Thykier.

Ranganathan, who currently presents For The Love Of Hip Hop for Radio 2, said: “In my many years working as a maths teacher thinking ‘what would happen if I gave this up’, I never imagined I’d be sandwiched between Dermot O’Leary and Steve Wright on the UK’s most popular radio station every Saturday morning.

‘The Traitors’ host wants to spend more time with her family (Getty Images)
‘The Traitors’ host wants to spend more time with her family (Getty Images)

“I’m grateful to Claud for wanting to spend more time with her kids, and enabling me to spend less time with mine, and I look forward to finding out what the nation is up to at that time, as well as speaking to some familiar faces. It’s going to be fun. Probably.”

Announcing the news of her departure on Radio 2, Winkleman said: “Here’s the thing, and it is such a boring cliché, so apologise: time is going too fast.

“My daughter is getting ready to leave home, and she was three about five minutes ago. I still have a little one who wants to be with me – don’t know how long that’ll last – and I just need to be at home with them more.”

The Traitors host then praised British-Sri Lankan comic Ranganathan, calling him “one of the smartest people on Earth”. “Think of this, if you will, as an early Christmas present,” she said.

Starting out in stand-up comedy, Ranganathan is a multi-Bafta-winning presenter, best known for his shows The Ranganation and The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan. He will begin his new Radio 2 show in April.

Winkleman began her own career at the BBC in the Nineties, presenting travel shows while also conducting celebrity interviews for ITV’s This Morning. She then presented a number of game shows, as will as Saturday morning kids’ show Tricky with Vernon Kay.

Winkleman hosted her first Radio 2 show in 2008 (BBC/Matt Monfredi)
Winkleman hosted her first Radio 2 show in 2008 (BBC/Matt Monfredi)

Her first major presenting gigs came in the Noughties for debate show Central Weekend, with gigs following presenting a daily update show for Fame Academy and its Comic Relief counterpoint. In these years, she also penned a column for The Independent titled “Take It From Me”.

Her connection to Strictly came in 2004, as she hosted daily companion show It Takes Two. She was at the helm until the end of 2010, when she moved over to the main programme to present the results show with Tess Daly.

Following the departure of Bruce Forsyth, she began presenting the main show in 2014, winning over viewers with her heavy eye make-up, trademark fringe and sarcastic wit.

Winkleman first presented on BBC Radio 2 in 2008, and has presented a number of shows on the station in the years since. In 2020, she stepped into Graham Norton’s shoes as the host of the Saturday mid-morning slot.

Last year, Winkleman won her first Bafta for her presenting role on the BBC reality show The Traitors. Opening her acceptance speech with the words: “I can’t get emotional because I’m wearing so much eyeliner, she joked: “Thank you to my husband Kris. Please can we have a dog. That’s in brackets.”