has revealed he quit his 14-year stint on Radio 2 because he ‘wasn’t happy’ being forced to share his slot with Rob Beckett.
The presenter hosted his last Sunday evening 5-7pm show yesterday after a shake-up at the station saw him forced to split his time on air with the comedian.
The 67-year-old has become the latest big name star to leave the corporation, with his departure coming just weeks after Steve Wright announced he was stepping down.
In a video on Instagram, he said: ‘The reason I’m leaving, because everybody’s asked me this, is because I wasn’t really happy with the 13 weeks on, 13 weeks off business.
‘So I did the honourable thing, I honoured my contract, gave my notice in and now I’m off.
‘Thanks very much and good luck to everyone on Radio 2 and long may it continue.’
During his 546th show, which he began hosting in 2009, the presenter paid tribute to his long-time producer and signed off with his catchphrase: ‘Ta-Ra’.
Last week, experts claimed that BBC bosses are axing older DJs for likes of Scott Mills, DJ Spoony and RuPaul’s Michelle Visage who will play hits from the 90s instead of the 60s in a bid to attract younger female listeners.
Paul O’Grady (pictured while speaking on Instagram) said he quit his 14-year stint on BBC Radio 2 saying he ‘wasn’t really happy’ as he was forced to share his slot with comedian Rob Beckett as he becomes the last star to leave the corporation
The TV and radio presenter, 67, hosted his last Sunday evening 5-7pm slot yesterday after he began presenting the show in 2009
Mr O’Grady who also thanked fans on social media and his producer Malcolm Prince, said: ‘I’ve been really lucky in my time to have worked with some smashing producers and Malcolm is way up there believe you me.’
His last track was Friends by Bette Midler as he said goodbye to his last Radio 2 show on Sunday.
Speaking on Radio 2, he said: ‘This is the last Sunday Paul O’Grady show here on Radio 2 ever.It’s hard to say this, Malcolm, because it’s been almost 14 years hasn’t it.
‘Do you know this is one of the longest jobs I’ve ever held down. I only came to do a few hours for Elaine Paige and look what happened.
‘Anyway, I always used to say I was running from the building and there was a great big bubble that would catch me on Oxford Street and bring me back like the prisoner, but it’s not today and I can run free.’
He added: ‘From all of us here, from me and from Malcolm and everybody, thank you for tuning in these past 546 programmes.So you look after yourselves, stay safe and well. Ta-ra everyone.’
A BBC spokesperson told the MailOnline: ‘We respect Paul’s decision to leave Radio 2 and wish him the best of luck in the future.’
Furious fans accused the corporation of ageism after O’Grady announced he was quitting last week.
The BBC confirmed Rob Beckett (pictured on the Jonathan Ross Show) will return for at least another 13 weeks of shows on Radio 2 from Sunday, August 21
Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism after Paul O’Grady quit the station today.He is the latest in a string of older DJs to step back, including Steve Wright, Graham Norton and Simon Mayo. The ‘changing of the guard’ brings with it younger talent, including ex-Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, RuPaul’s Michelle Visage, Waterloo Road’s Angela Griffin, and DJ Spoony
Paul O’Grady and Steve Wright have both quit their Radio 2 shows in recent weeks
The TV and radio presenter, 67, has hosted the Sunday evening 5-7pm slot on Radio 2 since 2009
PR experts have suggested that the reshuffle is all part of an attempt by bosses to effectively rebrand the station by replacing the ‘old guard’ – which includes Tony Blackburn and Craig Charles – with younger talent such as former Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, 48.
They pointed out that the BBC was giving celebrities who might appeal to the so-called ‘Instagram generation’, such as Visage, 53, Waterloo Road actress Angela Griffin, 46, and DJ Spoony, 52, a shot at running popular slots on Friday and Saturday nights.
But they warned that the shake-up could ‘alienate’ older listeners and push them towards Radio 2’s competitors, such as Smooth, Heart and Gold, which are all owned by Global.
BBC insiders previously claimed that the corporation has been specifically targeting women between the ages of 35 and info situs gacor 45 as a key demographic, having previously given them the title ‘mood mums’.They claimed Radio 2 was trying to get DJs to play fewer songs from the 1960s and 70s in a bid to attract a younger audience.
Vanessa Feltz has become the latest start to abandon the BBC, Pictured: Announcing the news to her listeners last month
PR expert Rochelle White told MailOnline: ‘There will be a bit of a backlash to these changes.No one really copes well with change, do they?
‘I think this is all about getting rid of the old blood and bringing in the new. It looks like this is an attempt to tap into the Millennials and Gen Z, and get them on board, and they might be trying to do that by giving personalities who are popular on social media better slots.
‘There’s also Michelle Visage from RuPaul – maybe that’s just the BBC swapping out one model for a newer one.
‘I also wonder how much of this is about the licence fee and the row that the BBC has had with the Government recently.Plus the BBC’s had bad press over impartiality and so on.
‘Perhaps they’re tying to get young people on the hook to show them why they should stick with the BBC, and then turn around to the Government and say: ”See, we’re popular and we provide value for the licence fee.There’s no need to change it”. Maybe there’s some of that going on too.’
Vanessa Feltz, 60, also stepped back from her shows on Radio 2 and BBC Radio London after almost 20 years at the helm.
The 60-year-old presenter, whose salary of more than £400,000 makes her the BBC’s eighth-highest earner, has quit her early morning breakfast show after nearly 20 years on air.
Ms Feltz (left) said she had to step down ‘to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep’ and use her ‘energy-boosting shut-eye’ to ‘frolic with her fiancé Ben Ofoedu (right) who ‘irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me’
Ms Feltz said she had to step down ‘to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep’ and use her ‘energy-boosting shut-eye’ to ‘frolic with her fiancé Ben Ofoedu ‘who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me.’
In the past three years, BBC Radio has also lost big-hitters Graham Norton, who quit the station just before Christmas in 2020 but whose talk show is broadcast on BBC One, and Simon Mayo.
The shake-up has provoked a backlash, with one furious listener tweeting: ‘Steve Wright, Tony Blackburn, Craig Charles and now Paul O’Grady all shafted.What is wrong with the muppets that control Radio 2? Smacks of ageism somewhat’.
Another said: ‘What is the management doing to Radio 2? First Simon Mayo, then Graham Norton, Steve Wright, Paul O’Grady. Who next, Ken Bruce?Liza Tarbuck? We’re losing the best. I don’t want a 90s obsessed Radio 2 full of ex R1 DJs’.
A third added: ‘Another DJ quits… I rarely ever listen now, as it’s become too woke. Seems that @BBCRadio2 is really falling apart and going down the pan! The BBC is certainly not what it used to be!’.
‘As listeners know, we continue to play a wide variety of the best music from the past seven decades, including from the 60s and 70s.’
The BBC confirmed Beckett will return for at least another 13 weeks of shows from Sunday August 21.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-4feeed90-1c60-11ed-8199-fb62e302852c" website O'Grady quit BBC Radio 2 as he 'really wasn't happy'