Five months after pairing up for the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime show, Jo Whiley and Simon Mayo are already going their separate ways.
The duo were given an extended time slot from 5-8pm, but there were complaints from listeners about a lack of chemistry, which prompted an official response from the BBC and a robust defence by head of Radio 2, Lewis Carnie.
The announcement comes ahead of the first full set of RAJAR figures for the show this week. Further details of the revised early evening Radio 2 schedule will be announced in the near future.
Mayo, who hosted the Drivetime show solo for eight years, has decided to leave BBC Radio 2 later this year to work on other projects. A published novelist, he will also continue as co-host of Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Jo Whiley will launch a brand new show in January from 7-9pm, Monday to Thursday, featuring new music and live sessions. It’s a time slot Whiley knows from her time hosting the Evening Session on BBC Radio 1. She will also continue to present the Radio 2 In Concert series and will be standing in for Ken Bruce in 2019 when he is away.
Carnie said: "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. With Simon leaving, we’ve taken this opportunity to take a fresh look at the schedule, and create a show for Jo which will focus on her passion for music."
Mayo 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 5Live.
“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.”
Whiley added: "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), said: “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.”