Nuala McGovern to take over from Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour

Irish broadcaster Nuala McGovern will join the presenting line-up on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour following Emma Barnett’s departure, the broadcaster has announced.

McGovern, who is a familiar voice to listeners of the show as she covered for Barnett during her maternity leave, will present the popular programme from Monday to Wednesday each week from May 13.

Broadcaster Anita Rani will take over the reins on Thursday and will continue to host her current Friday and Saturday editions.

Barnett hosted her last Woman’s Hour show last week following a more than three-year stint at the helm of the programme, devoted to female topics.

She will join the radio station’s Today programme in May after Irish journalist Martha Kearney revealed this year that she will be leaving Radio 4’s flagship current affairs show.

During her stint helming Woman’s Hour last year, McGovern hosted the live reveal of the Woman’s Hour Power List which included interviewing England captain Leah Williamson, who topped the list.

She also spoke to a host of high-profile women including education activist Malala Yousafzai, actresses Laura Dern and Rosamund Pike, singer Arlo Parks and Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Dame Lynne Owens.

In her 20-year career, McGovern has worked across the BBC and is one of the leading presenters on the BBC World Service.

Women of the Year Lunch and Awards 2023
Emma Barnett (Ian West/PA)

She has reported for the broadcaster from more than 30 countries and at many important events including at both the funeral of the late Queen and the coronation of the King.

McGovern said being chosen as the next presenter of Woman’s Hour “fills me with joy”.

She added: “It is a real privilege to present this extraordinary programme. I’m looking forward to working with the superb Woman’s Hour team on the rigorous journalism expected on women’s issues but also making time for escapism and fun.

“I’m especially looking forward to getting back to the Woman’s Hour listeners, I have missed them.”

Countryfile star Rani said she was “thrilled” that McGovern was joining the Woman’s Hour team as she hailed her as a “brilliant broadcaster”.

Women in Film and TV Awards
Anita Rani (Ian West/PA)

“Like our listeners, I love hearing Nuala when I’m not presenting. What a tag team we will be – time to take Woman’s Hour to the next level”, she added.

Rani, who has presented on a number of shows, documentaries and radio stations for the BBC, joined the Woman’s Hour team in 2021 to present the Friday and Saturday editions.

The editor of Woman’s Hour, Karen Dalziel, said: “I’m delighted that Nuala McGovern is joining Woman’s Hour.

“She’s an exceptional journalist who brings an astonishing range of broadcasting experience to this role.

“Nuala has a deep curiosity about the issues that matter to women, and the intellect and warmth to bring them to life for our listeners.

“Paired with the skill and effervescence of Anita Rani our audience are in for a real treat six days a week.”