Paul O’Grady: why he quit Radio 2 show, Rob Beckett factor explained, what did he say about Malcolm Prince?

Paul O’Grady has hosted his Sunday afternoon radio show on BBC Radio 2 since 2009

Paul O’Grady hosted his final BBC Radio 2 show on Sunday.

The 67-year-old hosted the Sunday afternoon programme for almost 13 years before a change saw him regularly swapping with comic Rob Beckett.

The duo have been hosting their shows alternately, each for 13 weeks at a time.

O’Grady’s last show was yesterday (14 August 2022) when his current cycle ended.

The presenter said that as much as he is going to miss his listeners and the fun that he has had with producer Malcolm Prince, “I feel that now is the right time to go”.

This is everything you need to know.

Has Paul O’Grady quit his Radio 2 show?

It has been confirmed that O’Grady has left his BBC Radio 2 show after 14 years on the air.

The official BBC Radio 2 social media accounts said: “We’re sad to say that after 14 years on Sunday afternoons, Paul O’Grady has decided to leave Radio 2.

“We wish Paul the very best of luck and hope to work with him again in the future.”

The radio station also shared a statement from O’Grady, which said: “I’ve loved doing my Sunday afternoon show for the last 14 years and I’m going to miss my listeners, as well as the fun I’ve had with my producer Malcolm Prince, but I feel that now is the right time to go.”

In the replies to the tweet announcing O’Grady’s departure, listeners have accused the station of “pushing out” presenters.

One person wrote: “Forced out because you messed around with his show. Seems a common theme these days. Will expect to hear him on Greatest Hits radio along with the others you pushed out. There will soon be nobody worth listening to on R2.”

Paul O’Grady with the award for Factual Entertainment Programme during the National Television Awards held at The O2 Arena on January 22, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Another tweeted: “That’s that, then. You’ve driven another one out. Absolutely nothing worth listening to on Radio 2 anymore. Ken Bruce will be next on the hit list, no doubt.”

“What is going on @BBCRadio2? You appear to be on a mission to rid the station of its loyal listeners. I’ve always defended the @BBC and the licence fee but you are making it harder to defend by the day!!! Don’t forget, there’s a difference between broadcaster and celebrity!” wrote another.

Why did Paul O’Grady quit Radio 2 show?

Ahead of his final Radio 2 show, O’Grady posted a clip on Instagram in which he addressed the reason why he was leaving.

In the post he said: “The reason I'm leaving - because everybody's asked me this - it's because I wasn't really happy with the 13 weeks on / 13 weeks off business. So, I did the honourable thing and I honoured my contract, gave my notice and now I'm off.”

The 67-year-old’s decision to step away from the show came after a programming shake-up saw him share a time slot with comedian Rob Beckett. O’Grady had hosted the show for 13 years before the forced change came into effect.

Paul O’Grady during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show press day, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London (Photo: PA/Yui Mok)

He continued in the same Instagram post: “I just want to say that tonight is my very last show on Radio 2 after 14 years! I have never had a job for that long.

“So I want to say thank you very much for listening and for all your emails and all your messages and all the fun I've had over the years.

“And also a huge special mention to Malcolm Prince, my producer. And I've been really lucky in my time to have worked with some smashing producers, and Malcolm is way up there, believe you and me.”

In February, after the schedule change prompted an unhappy response from listeners, the BBC said plans “evolve over time”.

“Paul is much-loved by many of our listeners, and whilst we’re making this change to Sunday afternoons, he very much remains a firm favourite here in Wogan House,” it said.

At the time, O’Grady told his Instagram followers that the arrangement with Beckett had “nothing to do with me”.

When was Paul O’Grady’s last show?

O’Grady’s last show on BBC Radio 2 aired on Sunday 14 August, when his current cycle ended.

Linda Riley, Julian Clary, Paul O’Grady and Victoria Scone attend the Rainbow Honours at 8 Northumberland Avenue on June 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

From Sunday 21 August, Beckett will return to his hosting duties on Sunday afternoons for his next 13 week run of shows.

The BBC has said that “future plans for the slot will be announced at a later date”.

Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, added: “I’d like to thank Paul for so many years of his brilliant Sunday afternoon show.

“I’m sorry to see him go, but I wish Paul the very best of luck for the future and hope to work with him again as the door is always open to him here at Radio 2.”

How to listen to Paul O’Grady’s final show?

It was on BBC Radio 2 - and you can also listen on the BBC Sounds app.