Entertainment & Arts

Danny Baker 'hosts last BBC London show'

Danny Baker
Image caption Baker returned to radio last year after receiving treatment for cancer

DJ Danny Baker has said he has hosted his last radio show for BBC London 94.9 after learning his daily programme was being axed.

The presenter hit out repeatedly at the BBC during his two-hour show, in which he called his bosses "weasels".

At the end of his show he said: "That's your lot. We don't want to leave but we're being told to by people we've never met who don't listen to [us]."

The BBC said Baker's show was due to finish at the end of the year.

A spokeswoman said she was not able to confirm whether Thursday's show was indeed the 55-year-old's last. The DJ's agent was also unable to confirm his departure.

A BBC spokeswoman said Baker would not be presenting the show on Friday.

"Danny's decided to take a day off. Gary Crowley will be standing in for him tomorrow," she said.

Baker's dramatic "exit" followed a series of tweets in which he revealed his show had been cancelled.

"Just been told the BBC London Show - the Treehouse - is to be shut down," he tweeted. "Saves BBC money apparently."

Earlier on Thursday, the BBC said Baker would be leaving his afternoon show "at the end of the year" and that he was "still very much part" of the corporation.

"We're currently in discussions with him about options for a weekly programme," its statement continued.

Baker quickly rejected this suggestion, saying he had not heard "a single word" about a new show.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDanny Baker: "It's been an honour and a privilege"

The dispute appears to have no bearing on the presenter's other role as host of a Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 live.

"As you may have heard, this show has been cancelled by the BBC," said Baker at the start of his Thursday programme, saying it had been "an honour and a privilege" to present it.

Throughout the programme he repeatedly said it would be his last show for the station where he has been a fixture since 2001, and that its cancellation had been motivated by financial considerations.

"This is the best show I'll ever do, but that is apparently not the point - it's about kowtowing to the reams of middle management," he said.

In a second statement issued after the show, the BBC insisted the decision had not been "driven by savings".

"All stations from time to time refresh their schedules and this is no different," the statement continued.

Broadcaster Stephen Fry, actor Rob Brydon and comedian Ross Noble were among those to criticise the BBC's decision.

The dispute follows the DJ's return to broadcasting last year after taking time off to receive treatment for cancer.

BBC London's listener numbers have been falling in recent years - according to Rajar, the station had 374,000 weekly listeners in the last quarter up to September.

It is a drop of 186,000 compared with the third quarter ratings for September 2010.

The station's main rival, LBC 97.3, stood at 927,000 weekly listeners last quarter.

More on this story

Around the BBC