Vanessa Feltz announces she is to leave BBC radio shows

Vanessa Feltz is leaving her shows on Radio 2 and BBC Radio London after almost 20 years at the helm of the latter, she has announced.

The broadcaster and TV personality said she had “loved every moment” of her early-morning programmes but was stepping down to catch up on a “decade’s deficit of beauty sleep”.

Announcing her departure to listeners, she said the roles had been “an honour and a privilege”. She will present her last Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show on Friday.

In a statement, Feltz said: “I have loved every moment with my Radio 2 ‘early birds’ and will miss my lovely listeners, jolly good fellows and beloved friends and colleagues at Radio 2 with all my heart.

“However, after almost 12 blissful years, I now need to step down to catch up on a much-needed decade’s deficit of beauty sleep.

“It’s been an honour and privilege to be the breakfast voice of BBC Radio London for 20 years and, although I’m leaving the show, I’ll continue to expect hugs from my lovely listeners when I see them on the streets of London.”

She added: “I will enjoy a dollop of energy-boosting shuteye to swing from ziplines with my three effervescent grandchildren and frolic with my fiance, Ben, who irritatingly remains 10 years younger than me.”

Recently released BBC figures show Feltz was one of just three women in the top 10 highest paid on-air talent, with her salary of more than £400,000 putting her in eighth place.

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Before taking over the Radio London breakfast show, Feltz presented a mid-morning phone-in programme on the station for 10 years, and from 2001 hosted a mid-afternoon phone-in show.

The Radio 2 controller, Helen Thomas, said she wanted to “thank [Feltz] wholeheartedly for the thousands of middle-of-the-night starts she’s made to entertain the Radio 2 listeners”.

Chris Burns, the controller of local audio commissioning, said of Feltz: “The brightest spark you could ever meet – no matter how early it is and what’s going on in the news. To say Vanessa’s voice will be missed is an understatement.”

After a two-week break, she will cover Jeremy Vine’s show for a fortnight as planned, from 15 August. Her last day of covering Vine, on 26 August, will be her final day at Radio 2, and also mark her final BBC Radio London show.

The Guardian