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Simon leaves us but Wittertainment lives on

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Adrian Van-Klaveren Adrian Van-Klaveren | 13:05 UK time, Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Simon Mayo

As the echoes reverberate from last week's announcement of Terry Wogan's departure from the Radio 2 breakfast show, there's another piece of news likely to be of huge interest to 5 live listeners. I know there's been a lot of speculation over the last few days but I can now confirm that Simon Mayo is to take over from Chris Evans in the Radio 2 Drivetime slot from January. Very sadly of course this means his Monday-Friday 5 live afternoon show will come to an end at the end of the year.

Simon's programme has been one of 5 live's greatest successes over the last nine years, steadily building a reputation as a home of intelligent conversation and entertainment as well as the afternoon's news and sport. It's won many awards and even more plaudits for both the team as a whole and for Simon in particular. He's established himself as one of the very best radio interviewers - a tribute to his skills at asking the right questions and his always immaculate preparation and research. Almost everyone remembers his deft coverage of the events of 9/11, which unfolded while he was on air. But there are many other items such as the beautifully-managed collision of Ricky Gervais and the Archbishop of Canterbury, which is one of my all-time favourite moments from Simon's show. Few presenters can match his ability to switch seamlessly from subject to subject or his natural warmth and modesty.

The opportunity to move to a daytime music-based show on Radio 2 is another change of direction for Simon but I'm really pleased to say that he won't be leaving 5 live - even after 5 live's move to Salford in 2011. Every Friday afternoon Simon will continue to present a live film programme with Mark Kermode - it'll be an even bigger version of the existing Mayo and Kermode film show.

Of course Simon's departure will mean other changes to the 5 live schedule. I'm working on some exciting plans so please keep reading this blog over the next few weeks and I'll share all the details as decisions are finalised.

Adrian Van Klaveren is Controller of BBC Radio 5 live


  • Comment number 1.

    Best Wishes Simon for the future, and sorry Drive, I'm off to R2 at 5pm.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sorry to see Simon leaving his currently slot. He's definitely one of the best broadcasters this country has to offer and I think the way he's adapted from being a breakfast DJ to an interviewer and a current affairs reporter has fully demonstrated his talent. However, with this dubious move to Salford it was inevitable, and I'm obviously glad that we'll still have him and Kermode at least.

    I don't think I'll migrate with him to Radio 2 (I'm only 23, so can't see music choices being to my taste, though Radio 1s aren't either!) but if there's a podcast made available for his show then I'll definitely subscribe to that. It's going to be interesting seeing who his successor on 5Live will be; I think the BBC could do a lot worse than Mark Radcliffe (or Phil Williams as a second choice).

  • Comment number 3.

    Simon's due a change after such a long time. Love the show as it's evolved to suit his style. He will take a lot of listeners with him.

    Please select a replacement from among the more successful recent "stand-ins". For example Richard Bacon was excellent. Please, oh please, not Mark (errrrrrrrr) Radcliffe or Colin Murphy. simon's skill is in sensitively and intelligently interviewing and not projecting his opinion: neither of these two seem capable of that (and Bacon would need to be careful).

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm really sad upset that Simon is leaving Radio 5, he's one of the few good broadcasters left there. Such a pity Radio 5's moving to Salford, or you wouldn't have lost him !

    It worries me who you'll put in his place, I just hope it's not Richard Bacon .

  • Comment number 5.

    It's going to be Phil Williams, right? It has to be. He's the obvious choice.

  • Comment number 6.

    Well that's it for me I'm afraid with Mayo going and only Peter Allen left at 5Live, sorry 5Live, hello Radio 2 (I'll have to buy a radio that receives Radio 2 of course...)

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm really sorry to see Simon's show moving from R5L to R2 but at least we will still have the incomparable Wittertainment on Fridays. I'm a relatively new downloader of The Daily Mayo podcast but it quickly became the soundtrack to liven up any dreary chore. The Movie segment with Mark Kermode is an absolute triumph of radio and I am both pleased and, yes, grateful that it will remain on R5L (and the podcast).

    I don't blame him for moving to R2, with its greater audience. When the announcement about Sir Tel came last week, it was inevitable that the network would poach Simon, after all the stand-in work he's done on there recently. It's just a shame that with the music quotient on R2, we'll be unlikely to hear anywhere near as much of his unrivalled interviewing skills.

    Simon is easily the king of the airwaves for me and his natural home is on speech radio. I remember listening live to the events of 9/11 and only in retrospect can I marvel at his careful and calm demeanour as they unfolded. I think almost any other broadcaster would have found it impossible to communicate so appropriately under the immense gravity of the situation.

    For me though, the very best memory I have (so far) of Simon's consummate skill and charm came when he appeared as an 'old-boy' guest on Chris Moyles' show during the station's 40th Anniversary week. Here was a meeting of different generations, a chance for Moyles to assert his ego over one of the 'old guard' as the (long-time) presenter of the flagship show on the flagship station. Simon politely and wittily locked horns and proved that even after honing his subtler skills in the more mature areas of radio, he can still think quicker and retort more sharply than 'The Saviour of Radio 1' in a fast-paced show. When the segment ended, I remember thinking "you're still the master" and I'd like to think that there were thousands of others listening who thought exactly the same.

    Somebody get this man a proper, intelligent talk show on television - even if he needs to be talked into it! Parky's off the scene and surely we can do better than Adrian Chiles...

  • Comment number 8.

    Pity that Simon's going - he will be sorely missed. Glad that that the Film show remains in 5live plans as it is truly top entertainment. Someone has mentioned Phil Williams as possible successor - no, please no. Let's have someone with a little oomph - I like the idea of Mr Bacon. Danny Baker anyone???? You know that you want to...

  • Comment number 9.

    Sorry to see Simon go. He's been a great radio broadcaster and interviewer with an amazing breadth and depth of interests who's won the respect of listeners and guests. The wittertainment between him and Kermode makes wonderful radio. Please don't replace him with Richard Bacon or Colin Murray! Agree with Kevpartner that it's got to be someone who shouldn't project their own opinion. Leftfield suggestion here, but how about Tony Livesey? Can engage well with listeners

  • Comment number 10.

    Im sad to see Simon leave R5 but very happy to see him join R2 drivetime show.

    More worryingly for R5, how long are they going to be able to keep hold of the likes of Peter Allen, Nicky Campbell etc....

    I really cant see them moving to Salford

  • Comment number 11.

    I almost cried when I heard Simon was going. I cant always get radio reception and his podcasts just make my life better.

    I dont think that any of the suggested replacements would work, in particular Richard Bacon would ruin the show but at least I wouldn't have to go to sleep listening to him.

    And please dont make it another phone in, far too much of that already on the station.

    But we have the wonderful movie show continuing on a Friday. I've always thought an hour wasn't nearly enough. I would pay my licence fee just for Mark and Simon.

  • Comment number 12.

    Please, please not Bacon.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm really sorry to see Simon go - i had hoped that with his experience we would see him promoted to Radio 4 instead of shunted out to R2. I certainly wont be following - I listen to radio for some intelligent coverage of news and culture. If Phill williams, Colin Murray or the truly dreadful Richard Bacon takes over I will definitely give up on Radio 5- couldn't they tempt Fi Glover back? And PLEASE keep the sports section of the program separate from the culture/news sections so that those of us who are interested in the books and films can still listen without having to put up with the nerdy drivel even Simon lapses into at times.

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry to see Simon go, he's a great talent.

    One person I think could be a good replacement, Pat Nevin.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have alway enjoyed Simon gentle but incisive style and will greatly miss listening to him on afternoons off. I think Phil Wiliams brings the same qualities to the job when standing in and should be offered the chance to replace Simon on a permernant basis.

  • Comment number 16.

    I shall be so sad when you go Simon. From a nervous beginning, as I recall, the show has grown into a masterclass of broadcasting, ranging far and wide, keeping me informed and entertained in equal measure. The only crumb of comfort is that at least we look like we are going to keep the Ritual if Insanity which is the Friday afternoon film reviews with the other Good Doctor, the intellectual drug of choice for the discerning listener. Be warned, if that goes, there may indeed be civil unrest on a scale not seen since the Civil War!

  • Comment number 17.

    "switch seamlessly from subject to subject or his natural warmth and modesty." You have summed up Mr. Mayo's broadcasting skills in that sentance but it is disapointing that you have not listened to the 5Live listeners who have requested that Simon be found a slot on 5Live where he camn do just that.

    A big mistake Adrian not to have found a solution to this. 2 hrs of film chat - great though it will be - is no substitute for the 15 hrs per week of what very few broadcasters can do and Simon has proved how great a broadcaster he is during his time at 5Live. With all due respect to the names that have been mentioned so far as a replacement for Simon they do not get anywhere near to his skills.

    Am I the first to suggest Mr. Campbell for the afternoon slot? And that will be Nicky not Alastair by the way.

  • Comment number 18.

    I think Radio 2 are the lucky ones, their drivetime should be great although he would have been better taking over from Jeremy Vine, IMO.

    Simons handling of 9/11 wasn't good.... it was exceptional!!!! I have never heard a programme like it before and (I hope) I don't have to hear one like it again, he was superb....I am biased, I loved him with the breakfast crew on Radio 1, he was great there.

    Who now for Simons show? I like Phil Williams, I'm not too keen on Mark Radcliffe but I do like the way Richard Bacon has evolved, I think he could become the new Mayo in a few years, like his presenting style and I would love to see him in the role..... my outside bet would be Mark Pougatch.... when he stands in for people he's good, very knowledgeable and can handle topics away from sport now, he could be a contender!

  • Comment number 19.

    Yes very sorry to see Simon leaving but I think we all knew that the move "up North" was always going to present difficulties. Good luck with the new show Simon and will there be a place for "On this day in history" and the Ident-a-hit (Schools Out!).

    Phil Williams should be the replacement. His interviewing technique is also excellent albeit a bit more informal than Simon's and he also has the ability to switch from subject to subject with ease. )Colin Murray was also very good whenever he has sat in for Simon)

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm a northerner and welcome any intstment in the north but 5 Live's move to Manchester was just stupid, and losing broadcasters of Mayo's quality just proves it.

    With Simon Mayo gone, so has one of the few remaining reasons to listen to 5L.

    12. Indeed.

  • Comment number 21.

    Aww, will be so sorry to see Simon go, he is a marvellous professional presenter, in fact probably the best on R5 imo

    Please though not Phil Williams, his forced mateyness makes me cringe.

  • Comment number 22.

    Phil Williams would be a good bet. But I hadn't thought of Tony Livesey. Good idea too!

  • Comment number 23.

    Mayo's show wil also be remembered for the genius which is the Friday Film Reviews so I'm glad that's staying. But what we are losing from his departure will be impossible to replace. The way he gets his interviewees to relax and open up is something I've not heard elsewhere - the honesty of his thoughts rather than kissing up to them is what seems to get the best of others. All the best bits of Radio Five appear on his show - the sports review is much better than any of the actual sports programmes - so it's a shame the one-man station is finishing.

  • Comment number 24.

    Dear Simon,

    Thank you so much for many happy years of funny, always interesting, sensitive and intelligent afternoons of radio. Parky is not fit to tie your shoe laces in the interview department. You have the happy and inate knack of asking the questions that WE would be dying to ask if we were able to talk to the interviewees. Not just the questions that the interviewees hope to be asked!

    I have not listened to Drivetime since JW left as I cannot stand the puerile drivel and childish humour of CE! Looking forward to becoming a regular listener again.

    All the best for your future career, which I hope will include a very special TV chat show, something the BBC is sorely missing.

    Best regards,

    Peter Harris - Newton-le-Willows

  • Comment number 25.

    The first casualty of the move to Salford. Mark Radcliffee? No, please...and not Bacon. Colin Murray is amusing and smart. and could grow into it.
    If Peter Allen goes then the station is all but ruined. Even Talk Sport beckons.....

  • Comment number 26.

    Very sad about Simon's departure as his refreshingly well-briefed and intelligent style of presenting and interviewing is so unique. I'm delighted that Wittertainment is staying, but I'm worried about who might replace Simon. Please, please, please - NOT Richard Bacon whose dismissive and frankly rather dim style of presenting drove me mad while Simon was on his hols. Just because he's not interested in anything (e.g. classical music, science) doesn't mean that a) nobody else is and b) he shouldn't learn! Also please don't replace him with Anita Anand whose lightweight style also drives me round the bend. My vote's for Rachel Burden - clever, no umming and ahhing, well informed, witty, lovely voice.

  • Comment number 27.

    This is great news. Obviously sorry to see him leave his current show but he deserves a greater audience, he's easily the best radio interviewer/broadcaster in the country. Being able to listen to him of an evening makes up for losing Terry in the morning.

  • Comment number 28.

    Most of you are unbelievable, get over yourselves. 5 live has so many quality presenters and whilst mayo is undoubtably one of the best we still have mark pougatch (who is a quality sports presenter), nicky campbell, peter allen, collin murray (a bit informal for the mayo slot but he knows his chickens and he's good for a laugh as well), danny baker, steven nolan, victoria derbyshire etc.

  • Comment number 29.

    For anyone who wants to know what 5Live is going to miss should listen to the podcast with Brooke Kinsella. A very sensitive interview about a heartbreaking subject handled with amazing tact. 5Live will be a worse place without Mayo, but thankfully the Mayo and Kermode show continues.

  • Comment number 30.

    I know this has been on the cards but what a sad day this is. Simon Mayo is without doubt the jewel in the 5 Live schedule. So if you must replace him please do not ask Mark Radcliffe, Stuart Maconie or Colin Murray. (I say bring back Mark Saggers to Sport) Not sure about Richard Bacon either. I do like the idea of Phil Williams or Rachel Burden or even Gabby Logan. She's better on the radio than Final Score.

  • Comment number 31.

    This news is disastrous for Five Live, losing the best presenter is a really bad situation and what makes it worse is the fact it is self-inflicted by moving the station out of London.

    Simon will be very hard to replace, but I do think we have to give whoever gets the job a chance, remember when Simon started at Five Live he took a while to settle in to the role himself.

    I don't want the replacement to be Mark Radcliffe, I love Mark and think he is the best broadcaster working today, but I don't want him to stop being a music presenter.

    Other names have been linked Colin Murray, Richard Bacon, Rachel Burden. I would love to see Aasmah Mir myself.

    However the controller mentions exciting plans so perhaps a totally new name or someone returning the station - perhaps Fi Glover, Julian Worricker or Matthew Bannister are about to return?

  • Comment number 32.

    Mayo is one of the few that can get the balance right, the Brooke Kinsella interviews proves it wonderfully.

  • Comment number 33.

    I must say I am really sorry to see Simon Mayo go, he has provided hours of quality broadcasting during his time at 5Live. As many posters have said already he has a fantastic interviewing style along with an excellent knowledge of all matters he broadcasts on.

    Personally I would like to see Richard Bacon or Phil Williams takeover, however whoever takes over will have to raise their game to match Simon Mayo.

    Good Luck at Radio 2!

  • Comment number 34.

    What is with the anti Salford/Manchester stuff. Mayo is moving because of the chair shuffling cause by Terry's departure. Nothing about not wanting to go to the North. Have you notice the amount of replacements touted who hail from North of Watford? This London centric view of the world is exactly why the BBC should move. A change in format and direction at 5live is needed anyway. The phone in is not great in a morning VD is beginning to sound like woman's hour, Mayo & Drive great, Murray covering the link to sport? Bacon ok of an evening.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    The current programme changes within 5 Live have not improved the station one iota in my view. The ludicrous messing around with the breakfast programme (Shelagh first hour, Nicky last) isn't an improvement, in fact it makes it seem like amateur hour(s). Losing Simon from PM's question time has been a total error, Victoria is far too lightweight to carry it. (oh for Fi Glover, who got me hooked on 5 Live) The awful mutterings from Danny Baker on Saturday mornings means I (and many friends) have now moved away from 5 Live for the duration. I have lost faith with the current controller who appears to be tinkering to justify his presence. I fear worse to come.

    Maybe Simon has jumped the sinking ship.
    Good luck Simon, great broadcaster, you shall be missed.

    I agree with others, please not Richard bacon, he suits his programme, and was SO poor when he covered for Victoria last year.

  • Comment number 37.

    It's both and end and a beginning. The one thing that I am going to miss (if my understanding is correct), are the excellent book reviews that are on a Thursday. They have become part of my regular podcast listening - particularly when the dog needs a walk. I don't claim to be any good at writing, but it gives me a little boost everytime I listen to them. I am obviously hoping that someone close to the current book review team will take the mantle over and keep broadcasting.

    There are other book podcasts out there, on the BBC and beyond, but I like the balance of informality and intelligent comments from the people involved. I guess that right now, there are no rumours about this, but if anyone hears anything can they post?

  • Comment number 38.

    You appear to be moderating on a very strange basis and have actually changed my identity to "YOU" on the shown awaiting moderation post rather than my chosen name of Bee_A_Bee. (I know it's me as when I click on it, it shows my previous postings)What are you up to?

    Nothing written was rude or at all inappropriate.
    Have any other people experienced odd moderation from the BBC? I'm guessing Halfamo has. Freedom of speech issues mod?

    This isn't the first time for me, I will be taking it further and I hope others will.
    Oh, by the way, I'm copying all my posts from now on.

  • Comment number 39.

    I was devastated to hear the news and feel it could be the death-blow for intelligent broadcasting on Radio 5. I'd been hoping against hope that the rumours were wrong. Simon is almost the last person on Radio 5 who broadcasts intelligent discussions and does a lot of preparation for each interview whether serious or frivolous. Even when it's a subject in which I have no interest whatsoever, he somehow draws me in. I can't see that, after all his speech radio awards, this move to Radio 2 is a promotion of any sort.

    From listening to radio 5 all day in 2000, I'm now reduced to listening to Simon and Drive (when Peter Allen is on it) which saddens me. A once great station is now becoming dumbed down to the lowest common demoninator.

    As for a replacement, I can only think of one. Most of the stand-ins have either been far too quick to interrupt and forestall any interesting discussion starting. Some seem like over-eager puppies or are too keen on the sound of their own voices. The only stand-in who I felt had any sort of radio presence was Mark Radcliffe. He could start topics in an interesting way as he'd obviously done preparation and then let the discussions/arguments between people run until a deft hand was needed to steer it in another direction or to a programme break. He was a bit hesitant, but it was a different sort of job for him and I think he would grow into it. (Fi Glover, Julian Worriker or Matthew Bannister would do an excellent job too but I can't see that happening now they've all gone to Radio 4).

    Thank you Simon for keeping afternoons interesting.

  • Comment number 40.

    Simon will be almost impossible to follow. Please don't "dumb down" this slot with Bacon, Williams etc (who suit breakfast / late night).

    Peter Allen and Anita get the balance of news/humour about right for their slot. Victoria D is poor. Her show is not incisive and frequently is repetitive. How about two shorter shows with different presenters in the morning to give more focus? Mark Pougatch has the potential to thrive with a wider brief, such as the 1pm slot.

  • Comment number 41.

    A sad day for R5L. Mayo's show has been consistently the best program on the station for years, and this is confirmed when the inept Bacon attempts to stand in.

    Really its an indictment of the foolish move to Manchester. Why on earth this is still being persuaded is beyond me.

    I would suggest Phil Williams or Nicky Campbell as a replacement, but also think maybe Jeremy Vine could come across from R2 and do a decent job. Just NO NO to Bacon. His continual interruption, narcissism and inability to 'get it' when talking to people are frustrations which have already lead to me no longer listening to the late show which I did previously.

  • Comment number 42.

    Please ask Victoria Derbyshire to stop taunting the listener with the horrific possibility that Simon Mayo could be replaced by Richard Bacon.
    I understand that Simon doesn't want to move to Salford, I understand that he may hanker after a music-based show; what I don’t understand is how he could possibly allow his esteemed afternoon slot on Five Live to be colonised by the infantile, self-obsessed, self-promoting Mr Bacon. Simon has worked for years to make his show the best programme on BBC Radio and now they’re in danger of replacing all that calm, measured, witty, authoritative, articulate skill with appalling drivel.
    My vote would go to the following, in order of preference, assuming that Nicky Campbell is to stay at Breakfast: Stuart Maconie, Aasmah Mir, Gabby Logan, Phil Williams, Matthew Bannister, Mark Radcliffe, Tony Livsey, Julian Worricker and Adrian Chiles.

  • Comment number 43.

    People wondered when Simon Mayo first came to 5 Live whether he would make the transition from DJ to a speech based network. He quickly made the slot his own and I think he is now one of the few truly great broadcasters around today - he was also brilliant as a stand-in for Johnny Walker on R2 on Sunday evenings recently. Radio 2's gain is 5 Live's loss but I'm mainly a 5Live/Speech Radio listener who often feels left out by Radio 4's greater focus focus on specialist segments of the audience.

    What concerns me is not Simon moving on but the apparently relentless drift of 5 Live away from News and Sport to Football and Phone-ins together a growing patchwork of more and more celebrity presenters who haven't learned their craft in radio and whose egos seem too often to intrude. The best presenters are the ones with spark, wit and personality who talk to me the listener as an individual. Honestly, big name, big ego presenters don't do that. My objection to phone-ins is that they are mainly conversations between the presenter and someone else and not with me the listener. Please, please find a replacement for Simon who is a radio professional (he/she doesn't have to be 100% the finished article yet). We've lost the mid-day news to an extended phone-in, the evenings and weekends have more and more football (even during the summer) and great presenters have given way to personalities. Please no more celebrity signings. Remember Gambo's comments about Russel Brand being a disaster in waiting at R2 and how radio is a craft thayt has to be learned ? 5 Live may be going to Salford (and no harm per se in that but we have no idea who is going to move) but it's carved out its own unique niche in the schedules and shouldn't have to go down the drain at the same time. The very best always seem to be people who had a passion for radio from their teens or even earlier.

    I think the BBC is not simply needing to find a replacement for Simon but by its choice it will show whether it remains committed to the 5 Live promise of news AND sport delivered by great and committed "radio people" who often earned their craft in local radio and a number of whom have already, or soon will, make their mark on the "more senior" stations like R4 or R2.

  • Comment number 44.

    That is simply sad news....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 45.

    Adrian Van Klaveren:

    Thanks, for keeping us informed on the upcoming changes to 5.....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 46.

    Since 2002 we have been living in Holland and listening to Simon on R5 MW in the car has been a godsend. I am an avid podcast listener now due to wanting to hear more of his show. Already one of my favourite music DJ's from yore he now ranks as the best interviewer on the network (despite a slight fall from grace over comments about Dundee utd on the Lorraine Kelly prog).I rate him with Parky.
    Thanks Simon for the last 7 years. Fridays won't be enough for me as I can take or leave Kermode so I would rather you kept the sports panel than give us more hairgel. The sport panel was sometimes even more interesting on repeat play when you knew all the results! I'll get you on my new interenet radio but I'll miss your great interviews

  • Comment number 47.

    This is a really silly move by the BBC. Simon will be wasted on Radio 2, where the mood has to be relentlessly positive. It's like audio prozac (nice as that can sometime be). With the music, he will not have the time and space to show his strengths.

    Regarding replacements: Please not Phil Williams - he doesn't have the intellect for the job and his professional 'man of the people' act is irritating - witness his teasing of Mark Kermode about his 'Dr' status.

    My vote is for either Nicky Campbell or Mark Radcliffe. I like the Pat Nevin suggestion too. Nevin is easily the best sports commentator around and he's smart enough to cover the range of subjects covered by Simon's show.

  • Comment number 48.

    Also, someone else mentioned Aasmah Mir above. A good choice - what a lovely voice / persona.

  • Comment number 49.

    Simon has worked for nine years to make his show the best programme on BBC Radio thanks to his calm, measured, witty, informed, articulate broadcasting skills. Is there a presenter who works harder to make each item of such high quality? Is there an interviewer that has used politeness, respect and genuine curiosity to elucidate issues and lives with such clarity and sensitivity? He will be missed and is clearly irreplaceable.
    However, replaced he must be. Here are my suggestions in order of preference (assuming that Nicky Campbell doesn't want to break his winning Breakfast partnership): Stuart Maconie, Asmaah Mir, Phil Williams, Matthew Bannister, Andrew Marr, Julian Worricker, Tony Livsey, Mark Radcliffe, Adrian Chiles.

  • Comment number 50.

    I am really sorry to see Simon Mayo go. He is a class act and I can't help but feel that his talent is wasted on R2 where he will has much less scope to demonstrate his skills. Fi Glover is a great call - I was really sorry to see her leave R5L but I wonder if the reasons for her going still persist? In terms of current presenters, Richard Bacon would be my choice, although he's no Simon Mayo. My nightmare scenario is Phil Williams - that would be one listener gone if he was to take over. He has already ruined my Saturday mornings after being given that slot permanently. Colin Murray would be OK but I worry he is too lightweight, especially for the political stuff.

    I also agree about the drift towards phone ins. Victoria Derbyshire's programme is nothing but tabloid on radio now. And I thought Nicky Campbell moving to take over the first hour would have been more of an improvement but even that has been a disappointment. Whatever happened to the old idea of having experts on so that even if there was a phone-in at least there were people there who had knowledge of the subject. All we get now is a constant stream of often ill-informed comment and opinion with nothing to balance this.

    Anyway, good luck at R2 Simon. You will be sorely missed.

  • Comment number 51.

    Very sad to hear that Simon is leaving. A couple of slightly left-field suggestions for replacement - Tony Livesey, Andrew Fletcher or even Rachel Hodges? They would all be good. I'd hate to see Bacon there as he is better suited to late nights and lacks the gravitas for mid-afternoon or for the PMQ analysis.
    Good luck Simon.

  • Comment number 52.

    Just had 2 more ideas for replacements - Matthew Bannister who was outstanding in the evening slot a few years ago. Also Julian Worricker would be great in that spot as well.

  • Comment number 53.

    Let's hope Fi Glover fills some of the free airtime ...

  • Comment number 54.

    This is disastrous news for Five Live, but no surprise given the ill-conceived move to Salford. None of Simon Mayo's recent stand-ins have demonstrated comparable intellectual depth, breadth of interest or broadcasting skills (Fiona Phillips being the absolute nadir). Of those mentioned, Matthew Bannister or Julian Worricker (both now to be heard on R4) would seem to be the strongest candidates, with Mark Pougatch or Aasmaar Mir as possibilities. Five Live, however, has lost this listener. As a Speech Radio listener I shall not be following Simon Mayo, but will probably return to R4.

  • Comment number 55.

    Where is the joined up thinking at the BBC to set Mayo head to head against Peter Allen?

  • Comment number 56.

    Please don't move Bacon to the afternoon, he is truly dreadful. The special half hour is the most self-indulgent piece of radio I've ever heard. I can't listen to him at all now. And that goes for Gethin Jones as well. I'd be happy to hear Phil Williams, Aasmah Mir or Colin Patterson in the afternoon slot.

  • Comment number 57.

    for goodness sakes its simon 'beige' mayo ... not jesus.

  • Comment number 58.

    "I must say I am really sorry to see Simon Mayo go, he has provided hours of quality broadcasting during his time at 5Live. As many posters have said already he has a fantastic interviewing style along with an excellent knowledge of all matters he broadcasts on."

    a quick google, let the guest do the talking , plug their product / agenda and chime in with pretty basic questions .. and be 'beige' at all times.

  • Comment number 59.

    sorry to see Simon leave. lovely guy, great interviewer. huge talent at being able to switch between wide range of subject. a big loss to 5live. I hope Colin Murray gets his job he is just in the Simon mode also very talented young presenter at home just like Simon in various subjects of discussions.

  • Comment number 60.

    How about any of Fi Glover, Assmah Mir Shelagh Fogerty or Rachel Burden though I guess Salford might be an issue for them just as as much as it is for others. All radio people, immensely talented and able to grow into Simon's shoes over time. About time also that R5L gave a lead presenter slot to a woman other than Victoria Derbyshire (about whom I won't comment).

  • Comment number 61.

    I agree Simon's interview with Brooke was excellent but if Adrian V K needs any further evidence of what he is loosing, Simon's interview today with Michael Mansfield was brilliant - 45 minutes of sensible, informative & entertaining conversation.

    You will have to come up with someone very special to fill the afternooon slot to keep me listening to 5Live

    when will you be respondiong to the above comments?

  • Comment number 62.

    Actually there has been quite a few good suggestions on here.

    I always felt when Fi Glover left the station it was unfinished business and that she may well return, maybe this is the oppertunity. The one key thing for me is that I thought when she presented the Afternoons on opposite days to Ian Payne it was the show that suited her best.

    I don't think it will be Phil Williams, he isn't good enough for one of the key shows, I don't mind him at weekends but not afternoons plus he isn't even used now in Simon's absence.

    And what on earht are they going to do for one hour on Friday lunchtimes?

  • Comment number 63.

    I too am truly sorry to Simon leave his regular programme. Sadly he is at present, with the honourable exception of Peter Allen, the only decent broadcaster left on Five.

    Please do not besmirch Simon's reputation by replacing him with Phil 'Blokey' 'Matey' Williams. I have enjoyed the programme when Colin Murray has stood in; sure he has much to learn but he is eager and intelligent. Or perhaps Aasmah Mir? As much as I love Fi Glover I don't think she would be right for this slot but my number one choice would be for you to entice Juilan Worricker back to host this programme.

    Whatever you do please don't replace the programme with yet another panel type programme' there's enough already.

  • Comment number 64.

    Thanks for all the comments – both the tributes to Simon and your thoughts about what should happen in the afternoons from next year. There’s a fascinating range of views here and a pretty broad spectrum of opinion about individual presenters. I’m sure you understand why I can’t comment on individuals or private discussions going on at the moment but I and many others at 5 live are reading these comments with great interest so please keep them coming.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'm very sad to hear that Simon will be leaving his R5L show but with the move of the station up north it was inevitable. Personally I think he will be wasted on R2 in a music show as his skill is intelligent and sensitive interviewing. I'm glad that Wittertainment is remaining.

    Unfortunately I missed his much-praised broadcast during 9/11 - is there any chance it could be made available online? I'd love to hear it.

    As for replacements for Simon, PLEASE please don't replace him with the unfortunately smug and inarticulate Richard Bacon as I would be forced to switch off. Simon is such a hard act to follow. Nicky Campbell would be the best replacement if he wanted a change from early mornings.

    I wish Simon well and may well be following him to R2.

  • Comment number 66.

    Adrian is there any chance you can clear up what will be on Firdays for one hour if the new film show is two hours or will this have to be annoucned at the same time as what's happening the rest of the week, this is the intriguing bit?

  • Comment number 67.

    Please not Williams, Bacon or Radcliffe. Definitely not Fiona Phillips! Ugh, that was SO bad! How about a broadcaster with no less IQ and qualifications of Simon. Nicky Campbell, Julian W and Fi should be considered but a totally new presenter with Simon's qualities would stop me switching off too.

    Thanks to AVK for keeping us informed - one hell of a hard call sir! Just remember that you can never satisfy all of the people all of the time but please don't dumb down. We need to maintain the quality, sensitivity, grown up humour and intelligence that Simon has in spades.

  • Comment number 68.

    In common with all other posts, I would say that Simon has been a great companion in the afternoons. I might have to forsake 'The Mighty Drive' for his teatime show on R2 - sorry. As to a successor, how about Rachel Burden, assuming that Fi Glover won't do it? I agree with many others that we don't need Colin Murray; Phil Williams or Richard Bacon. Perhaps Tony Livesey if he doesn't replace V Darbyshire (I hope someone does soon)? Whilst a fine broadcaster, I find Nicky Campbell a bit smug to put up with for 3 hours at a time.

  • Comment number 69.

    I too am gutted that Simon is off to R2. After the dire three hours of Victoria Darbyshire in the morning, Simon is a breath of fresh air. I sincerely hope that Simon's replacement is not another autocue reader such as Eamonn Holmes, Fiona Phillips or Gaby Logan. For me both Colin Murray, Jeremy Vine or Richard Bacon would be ideal. Alternatively, I hear Terry Wogan is available.....

  • Comment number 70.

    I can only echo most of the comments regarding Simon Mayo. He is a fantastic broadcaster and I will really miss his wonderful show. It's going to be a tough choice on the drive home from work next year, with Simon up against the brilliant Peter Allen/ Anita Anand. I think I'll have to stick with the mighty drive, as Simon's new show will (presumably) be much more music based.

    At least Wittertainment continues. Surely that has to be one of the best shows on any media, never mind on 5 Live :) I just hope it doesn't continue to be interrupted with bloody cricket or horse racing updates!

    As for a replacement, it will be a very tough follow. Phil Williams isn't up to it IMO. He is too lightweight. Richard Bacon could be interesting, but his style is a bit too combative at times I feel. Please not Rachel Burden. I can't listen to her voice for more than a minute without having to turn off the radio. Nicky Campbell is great, but it'd be a shame to have him leave the Breakfast show.

    My preferred choice at the moment would probably be Colin Murray. He has been an excellent stand-in for Simon and he really does know his stuff. I used to like Fi Glover too, so she'd be a welcome return.

    Whoever it is, following the truly, truly dreadful VD has to give them a chance to shine.

    Best of luck to you Simon, and thanks for years of awesome afternoon radio :)

  • Comment number 71.

    alright we all agree its got to be Colin Murray. bring back Mark Saggers for the sports.

  • Comment number 72.

    won't be tuning into R2 Peter Allen is far too grumpy to miss his show. music aint my thing any way.

  • Comment number 73.

    Did anyone listen to Simon on R2? I did, briefly. He didn't even sound like himslef, it was as if he had gone back to DJ mode and reminded me why I didn't think he was right for R5 when he first made that move. What a waste of his talent. Sadly I won't be listening again, unless the format of his R2 programme changes. Reading out requests and playing music does not warrant someone with his broadcasting skills.

  • Comment number 74.

    Simon Mayo has proved himself to be an incredibly accomplished broadcaster with a breathtaking range at his disposal. I fear the move to be a retrograde step as has been mentioned.

    Someone will have the unenviable task of filling Simons shoes and I think I read that it is Richard Bacon. Richard Bacon? I can't believe it. I cannot believe that intelligent people would make a decision like this! Phil Williams has been mentioned and a truly inspired suggestion was Pat Nevin! The suggestion of Nicky Campbell is almost as absurd as Richard Bacon. "Chair for Mr Campbell and another one for his ego please."

    Long live Wittertainment and its good for 5 Live to have retained the two Doctors as otherwise I would not listen the station at all!

  • Comment number 75.

    I am horrified to hear that Richard Bacon is taking over from Simon Mayo. I don't remember seeing a positive comment on here about him, so why have the BBC done this? I have to listen to TalkSport at night as I can't bear his silliness. I hardly dare ask who is going to take over his spot at 10 p.m. Has it been decided yet?

  • Comment number 76.

    I agree.....Richard Bacon's show at 10pm has deteriorated to the point of utter nonsense. Also, why does Mayo have to be dragged back to 5live just to suit that Kermode fellow.....why not leave them both on R2??????? This film 'review' has become ridiculous and is just a forum for two grown men to act like children.

  • Comment number 77.

    Please dont replace Simon Mayo with Bacon..talk about dumbing right down.You have to either have Williams or Murray..they at least would know when to close their mouth and let others talk unlike Bacon whos so far up his backside it is uncomfortable to listen to.Hes like what chris evans used to be like..inlove with himself.Mayo has class and to replace him with such an annoying "presenter" would certainly make me go elsewhere..Ive listened to radio 5 from the start many many years ago and simon mayo is by far the best presenter .I knew it wouldnt last him staying so life goes on butatleast replace him with his replacements on his show. they deserve that at least rather than bacon..you may aswell have Timmy Mallet there if your having Bacon.Good luck to Simon Mayo and you gave us all some great radio on 5.The light has died from radio five live.And to those who say it will just be as good in few months time as ever are totally wrong.Simon Mayo was a one off and unless his show on radio 2 is similar to his radio5 show ill not be listening.. music based doesnt interest me.He is a genius with words..I just hope he comes back and realises that he has a loyal fanbase.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why cant mark kermode take over?? all who agree say yes.

  • Comment number 79.

    quiff quiff quiff

  • Comment number 80.

    Mayo's will be big boots to fill.

    For me the choice of replacement will be critical to whether I continue to listen to 5 live in the PM.

    For what it's worth I'd like to see Phil Williams get the gig. Richard Bacon would have me reaching for the off switch.

  • Comment number 81.

    I well remember Simon when he hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. He made it his own and I enjoyed it very much. When he joined 5live, I considered it to be a waste of a good DJ, (forgive my use of that word, DJ), and I thought Simon could be punching above his weight on a news-driven radio station. Now he has left us, I can see he has done the same thing as he had done on Radio 1. He made it his own. Simon obviously studied his guests before interviewing them. If they had a book, he read it. If they had a DVD, he watched it. And perhaps more than that, during the interviews he listened and only spoke if he had something important to say. He made it look easy, but he must have worked hard at it. More established interviewers could learn from Simon.

    Well done Simon. You will be sorely missed.

  • Comment number 82.

    While I am sure that Richard Bacon will be a good presenter, and will develop his own style, I am saddened that Simon Mayo has moved to Radio 2. I do not know what went on behind the scenes, but it seems to me that one of his great gifts was that he was able to engage with a number of different issues without ever imposing his own personality on any of those, he was one of the few presenters that was able to solo a talk show, obviously fridays with Kermode is a different thing and I am relieved that this has remained on 5live, but I think the move to radio 2, where he will have to find space between musical numbers, is a great loss to a talk radio programme, I wish him well and hope that Richard will develop some of Simon's integrity and intellectual acumen as he gains experience and wisdom,

  • Comment number 83.

    Re comment 78


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