Reverend Richard Coles on BBC: ‘I felt rather hurtled towards the exit’

Reverend Richard Coles has said after leaving the BBC that he “felt rather hurtled towards the exit”.

The broadcaster, 61, stepped down from Radio 4’s Saturday Live in March after 12 years. He joined the corporation’s show in 2011.

His departure from the show, also presented by Nikki Bedi, came following its relocation from London to Cardiff.

Coles told Radio Times: “I felt rather hurtled towards the exit. Working for an organisation like the BBC, you devote your energies to it and yet they perhaps don’t always respond with similar devotion.

“It’s a great national institution, and more power to its elbow. It would just be nice if it could distinguish that elbow from its arse sometimes.”

The ex-Church of England parish priest – who has also appeared on BBC comedy programmes such as QI, Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You? and retired from clerical duties in 2022 – also told the magazine that he hopes to be back on the BBC.

The former 2017 contestant on Strictly Come Dancing signed off his radio show on March 25 “thanking” listeners for “sharing their stories, surprising and moving us, a nosy man could ask for no better job”.

Bedi, 56, has stayed on to present the weekend series in Cardiff.

Coles, who is also a musician and was in synth-pop duo The Communards alongside Jimmy Somerville, continues to present a podcast called The Rabbit Hole Detectives with archaeologist Dr Cat Jarman and historian Charles Spencer.

Over the series, they chase “the provenance of historical objects both real and metaphorical”.

The BBC said it “invited both presenters to Cardiff to continue the programme” and “his departure was marked on the final show, and he was given space to say farewell to listeners on air”.