01 October 2020 10:39
Image caption Dame Jenni Murray is the Radio 4 show's longest-serving presenter Dame Jenni Murray has said it's "very strange" to be hosting her final Woman's Hour, as she prepares to leave the BBC Radio 4 show after 33 years. She added she was "much cheered" by receiving the gift of a farewell chocolate cake from celebrity chef and fellow broadcaster, Mary Berry. Dame Jenni, 70, is the 74-year-old show's longest-serving presenter. One of her final guests, MP Harriet Harman, praised her "tremendous legacy". During her tenure, Dame Jenni conducted memorable interviews with female figures as varied as Bette Davis, Margaret Thatcher, and Margaret Atwood.
She announced in July that it was "time to move on". Opening her final time in the Woman's Hour chair, Dame Jenni said: "Good morning and welcome to Women's Hour. "And yes, it does feel very strange to be saying that for the last time after 33 years!" Novelist and poet Jackie Kay saluted her for "holding up a mirror to the real world and everything that's been going on in it." Image caption Departing Woman's Hour presenters Jenni Murray (left) and Jane Garvey, in 2016 Dame Jenni received her damehood in 2011, in recognition of her Sony Award-winning broadcasting contributions. During a three decade-career on the show - which "offers female perspectives on the world" - the departing host also interviewed fellow Dame, Judi Dench, Saoirse Ronan, and her own personal favourite singer, Joan Baez, as well as Hillary Clinton and Kate McCann. In 2006, she announced on-air that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption The broadcaster thanked her 5 Live audience for making the show 'such a wonderful place' Earlier this month, it was announced that Emma Barnett will be the new presenter of Woman's Hour. The 5 Live and Newsnight presenter will fill the shoes of Dame Jenni, and her co-host Jane Garvey - who has also decided to step down from the end of the year. Unlike the current arrangement, where Garvey and Dame Jenni share presenting duties, Barnett will be the main host from Monday to Thursday each week. An additional presenter will be appointed to host the Friday and Saturday editions in due course. Barnett is already associated with the Radio 4 programme, presenting its late-night spin-off and regularly chairing the Woman's Hour Power List. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected] Dame Jenni Murray will present her final episode of Woman's Hour on Thursday. The broadcaster, 70, is the longest serving host in the BBC Radio 4 programme's history. She first appeared on the programme 33 years ago. View photos Emma Barnett will take over as the programme's main presenter (Lia Toby/PA) More Emma Barnett will take over as the programme's main presenter in January. Other presenters will guest host in place of Dame Jenni until Barnett takes over the job on a permanent basis. Dame Jenni became the regular presenter of Woman's Hour in 1987 and was made a dame in 2011 in recognition of her contribution to broadcasting. During her tenure, Dame Jenni has interviewed high-profile figures such as Bette Davis, Margaret Thatcher, Barbara Castle, Shirley Williams, Gloria Steinem, Monica Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton. View photos Dame Jenni Murray became the regular presenter of Woman's Hour in 1987 (PA) More She has also interviewed Anna Politkovskaya, Kate McCann, Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison, Wangari Maathai, Benazir Bhutto, Dame Judi Dench, Saoirse Ronan and Joan Baez, who sang Diamonds And Rust in the studio especially for her. Born in Barnsley, Dame Jenni joined BBC Radio Bristol in 1973 and went on to report and present for BBC TV's South Today. In 1983, she joined Newsnight before moving to Radio 4 as a presenter for the Today programme. Jane Garvey, who also presents on Woman's Hour, is also quitting the programme. She will leave the show at the end of the year. In 1999, Murray was honoured with an OBE for services to broadcasting - most notably, as a presenter for Woman's Hour. With one brilliant talk show host chatting to another, this was a defining episode of Woman's Hour. Winfrey opened up to Murray about her memories of the civil rights movement in America. However, the pair also broached the issue of body image. Speaking about the interview, Murray told the Radio Times: "She didn't make any bones about her weight going up and down. She said, 'What kind of a life is it without a French fry ever?' In 2003, it was all change for Murray, who walked down the aisle with her partner David Forgham. For the occasion, she dressed simply in a new black top and trousers with a beige jacket. This wasn't without a few raised eyebrows; Murray had previously written a piece against the humiliations of marriage and spoken out about being opposed to it. She said: "I did it because of inheritance tax. Under the current law in this country, if I or David had died, because we share all the properties, one of us would have had to pay 40 per cent inheritance tax. My children risked losing their family home due to a piece of paper." Getting men to open up At the beginning of the millennium, Murray worked her magic on the actor Jack Nicholson when she notoriously broached the subject about his apparent distrust of women. According to Murray, he responded by saying it stemmed from not finding out until he was 30 that the woman he believed to be his mother was really his grandmother - and that his "sister" was the one who had "shamefully" given birth to an illegitimate son. Writing on the show's 60th anniversary, Murray said: "I have often found that men open up on Woman's Hour in a way they would not elsewhere." Asking Edwina Currie if she'd had a smear test The British politician talked openly about her affair with John Major. In true Murray style, few questions were off limits, and she went on to quiz Currie about when she'd last had a smear test. She said: "Now I wonder if you are not averse to a spot of hypocrisy as well. Because you told me on the March 17 1988 that you weren't worried about cervical smears being every five years because you didn't put yourself at risk. And I quote: 'I've been married to the same chap for 14 years.' Now it seems to me that you were implying that people who are unfaithful are at risk? Which now seems a bit rich given what was going on?' Edwina Currie responded: "Well, I think we know a lot more about cervical smear now." The trial of 'Men's Hour', 2004 Ah, is if it wasn't enough to let women have their own radio space to discuss important issues. On December 31 2004, the show became "Man's Hour" for one day only, when it was presented by Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow. Later in 2010, calls mounted for a regular "Men's Hour" which launched later that year. Of the decision, Murray said: "It's up to them. They can talk or march for whatever interests them. The lesbian couple, 2005 In 2005, England's first lesbian couple to have a civil partnership, Rev Debbie Gaston and Elaine Cook, appeared on the show to discuss the landmark event. Murray met Debbie and Elaine the day before their ceremony to discuss what they saw as a "huge step in the right direction for equality". Breast cancer diagnosis, 2006 In December 2006, the presenter announced live on air - in a characteristically fuss-free fashion - that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. "Before I say goodbye for the holidays, there's something I need to say about me," she said. "I shan't be around for a while in the new year because I've just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I'll be having treatment in the coming weeks - the prognosis, by the way, is excellent - and I plan to be back as soon as I feel up to it." Within 48 hours, the BBC had received hundreds of cards and emails. Murray has a reputation for being open and honest on air, and this was no different when it came to her cancer treatment. She told listeners that the most emotionally upsetting moment was losing her hair, and then swiftly used this to explore the centrality of hair to definitions of femininity. "It was the worst day of all," she said at the time. "My hair was coming out at such a rate... I cried and cried but then I got a good wig and now the hair has started to come back." Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 2007 The urge to tackle difficult topics came to be a defining feature during Murray's stint on the show. In 2007, the former Dutch MP and human rights campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali appeared on the show to discuss woman in Islam and the shocking death threats she had received from extremists. These came after she'd written the screenplay to a film designed to expose the subjugation of women within the Muslim faith. Two months later Theo Van Gogh, the filmmaker with whom she had collaborated, was killed by an Islamic extremist assailant who was found with a note strapped to his chest saying that Hirsi Ali would be next. Masturbation talk, May 2011