Emma Barnett to leave Woman’s Hour to present Today programme in major BBC shakeup

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Emma Barnett is stepping down as the main host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to present the Today programme.

The BBC broadcaster, 39, will leave the programme in April having been at the helm since January 2021.

She said the programme “means a great deal to me and I want to thank the team and our mighty army of listeners for how much we have shared – the joy, wisdom, sorrow and sometimes sheer rage.”

She continued: “We are living in volatile times where sometimes even asking a question can seem risky – wrongly so.”

Barnett said her “ambition on the Today programme is to keep asking the questions that listeners want answers to – as well as raising many smiles along the way – while armed with a very strong cup of tea.”

She added that she is “delighted to be joining a programme that occupies such a unique space in British life and to also have the opportunity to expand my work across BBC TV and News.”

Today – the BBC’s flagship morning radio programme – is the most listened-to breakfast radio news programme in the UK.

Before Woman’s Hour, award-winning journalist Barnett hosted her own show on BBC Radio 5 Live, and was part of the presenting line up on BBC Two series Newsnight.

BBC News CEO Deborah Turness said of Barnett’s Today appointment: “Emma will bring her unique energy and verve to our brilliant team of Today presenters – every day they ask the questions that need answering, and host the UK’s most important conversation. I’m thrilled that Emma is joining that team, who are at the top of their game.”

Emma Barnett will host BBC’s ‘Today’ programme from May (Getty Images)
Emma Barnett will host BBC’s ‘Today’ programme from May (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Owenna Griffiths, editor of Today, said: “Emma is a truly great radio talent and I’m completely delighted she’s joining the Today team. She consistently puts the audience at the heart of her programmes and her unique combination of warmth, energy and persistence will be a fantastic addition to the line-up.”

Since hosting Woman’s Hour, Barnett has sparked conversation via her interviews with people ranging from Queen Camila to I May Destroy You's Michael Coel and the late singer Sinead O'Connor.