Simon Mayo has announced he is leaving Radio 2 after 17 years at the station.
The DJ, who currently presents the 5-8pm weekday Drivetime show with Jo Whiley, will leave later this year to work on a variety of projects.
A new version of Drivetime is expected to launch next year, with an as yet unnamed new presenter in the 5-7pm slot.
Speaking about his departure, Simon said: “Obviously, I’m very sad to be leaving Radio 2, and my good friend Jo.
“However, 2019 looks like being incredibly exciting for me. I have a new two book deal with Transworld, my children’s series Itch is being filmed for TV in Australia in early 2019, and I’m continuing to develop my novel Mad Blood Stirring for a movie with screenwriter Jack Thorne. Plus the film show with Mark Kermode continues on 5 live.
“Radio 2 has been a quite wonderful experience - my happiest in radio I think - but new adventures beckon and I cannot wait to get started.”
Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, added: “Simon is a fantastic broadcaster, and I’d like to thank him for entertaining millions of Radio 2 listeners with his wit and warmth over the years. Everyone at the station wishes Simon the very best of luck for what promises to be a very exciting future, and he’ll be missed at Wogan House.”
Meanwhile, it’s also been announced that Jo Whiley will launch a brand new show in January from 7-9pm, Monday to Thursday, placing her in the heart of the evening schedule.
Her new show will feature “the very best new music and amazing live sessions”, according to the BBC.
Jo said: “I’m incredibly sad that Simon has decided to leave Radio 2. He’s a brilliant broadcaster, a great friend and I really will miss working with him. However, I’m very much looking forward to hosting a new show for a new year which will have music at the very heart of it as well as guests and live sessions. Dream show, actually. Can’t wait!”
Bob Shennan, Director, BBC Radio and Music (and former Controller, Radio 2), added: “I brought both Simon and Jo in to Radio 2 many years ago, and they have been fantastic keystones in the Radio 2 schedule. I wish Simon good luck with his forthcoming projects, and congratulate Jo on her new show, which I look forward to listening to in January.”
From 2001-2007 Simon presented the Radio 2 Album Chart Show, whilst also presenting 5 Live’s afternoon show between 2001 and 2009. Simon has presented Radio 2 Drivetime from January 2010 - May 2018, when he hosted a new extended 5-8pm show with Jo Whiley.
During his career, Simon has won a Sony Radio Academy Award in 2009 with Mark Kermode for the 5 live Film Review, the Sony Award in 2011 for Best Music Programme for Drivetime, the Sony Radio Speech Award at the 2008, as well Broadcasting Press Guild’s Radio Broadcaster of the Year in 2008.
Earlier this year, the film rights for his first adult novel, ‘Mad Blood Stirring’, were acquired by House Productions and it is in development with screenwriter Jack Thorne (‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’). The first in his trilogy of children’s novels, ‘Itch’, is to be adapted by ABC Television in Australia, and starts filming there early next year.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that the Drivetime show will end in its current format with Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley as hosts, but will relaunch in the new year with a new presenter.