Naga Munchetty signs off first show as permanent BBC Radio 5 Live host

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

Naga Munchetty signed off her first show as host of the mid-morning programme on BBC Radio 5 Live by thanking her “fab team”.

The BBC Breakfast presenter, 45, is replacing Emma Barnett, 35, in the slot after the broadcaster’s move to Woman’s Hour.

Munchetty made her debut at 10am on Monday to the sound of dance track U Sure Do by Strike, promising her new listeners that they would soon “get to know each other”.

“Absolutely delighted to be here with you on the first Monday of 2021,” she said.

“I am so excited to be on board with you on this, the morning show we are making together. We are going to get to know each other, I promise. There is so much to talk about.”

Her show featured interviews with the team behind the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine, the refugee housed by Gary Lineker and mothers expecting during the pandemic.

Speaking to one guest, Munchetty admitted she had “butterflies” in her stomach ahead of taking to the airwaves, despite having had a stint guest presenting on the station over the summer.

Naga Munchetty on 5 Live
(BBC/PA)

Later she revealed she made her first gaffe even before starting the show, getting the name of BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast show presenter Nicky Campbell mixed up with that of celebrity hair stylist Nicky Clarke.

She said: “It’s an exciting way to start a new year, the new job. It is a little nerve-wracking.

“I think I made my first mistake before I even started the programme this morning by getting Nicky Campbell’s name wrong. I called him Nicky Clarke.

“He took it rather graciously actually and he said he will aspire to be a better hair coiffeur in the future.”

The TV star asked listeners to bear with her as she settled into her new role.

“All of it is exciting, a bit daunting, but I am sure you will enjoy the journey with me. I hope you will, anyway,” she said.

Signing off after three hours on air, she concluded: “I have been smiling so much.

“I have got such a fab team. I got brought biscuits – custard creams. I forgot to have breakfast this morning.”

Ahead of her show, friends from the world of broadcasting including Gethin Jones and Dermot O’Leary wished her luck on social media.

It came as broadcaster Barnett began her first day as Woman’s Hour presenter, taking over from Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray, who both left the show last year.

Munchetty, who joined the BBC in 2008 and became a lead presenter on BBC Breakfast in 2014, will present Monday to Wednesday.

She was rebuked by the BBC last year after commenting on US president Donald Trump’s call for a group of female Democrats to “go back” to their own countries.

The corporation initially ruled that the presenter had breached editorial guidelines before then director-general Lord Tony Hall reversed the decision.