Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo are ending their 5 Live film show

Published
Image caption,
Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode's final programme together on 5 Live will air on Friday 1 April

Film critic Mark Kermode and radio presenter Simon Mayo are to leave their long-running Friday film review programme on BBC Radio 5 Live.

The pair have presented the show on the network for 21 years, but their last programme will air on Friday, 1 April.

It has not yet been announced who will replace them, nor whether the duo plan to take the format to another station.

But Mayo, who also presents a show on Greatest Hits Radio, indicated that the pair would return elsewhere.

"After 21 years (and as many drummers), the Flagship Film Show @Wittertainment will make its final 5 Live voyage on April 1st," he tweeted. "But like [Spinal] Tap, we'll be back… Stay tuned."

In an official statement, the pair made clear that the decision to leave was their own.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Speaking on Friday's programme, Mayo added: "We are way too expensive, and there are better things for the BBC to be spending their money on."

Kermode will continue to present Screenshot alongside Ellen E Jones on BBC Radio 4 and his regular film review on the BBC News Channel.

The BBC said 5 Live Drive would move an hour earlier, to 4pm, following Kermode and Mayo's departure, with announcements on other schedule changes to follow in due course.

In recent weeks, Kermode and Mayo's show has been slightly shorter, while the Drive programme has started earlier, to allow for coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Over the years, the film review show has curated a roster of guest hosts who deliver their verdicts on the week's new releases when Kermode and Mayo are on holiday.

Recent stand-ins include The Telegraph's Robbie Collin, Radio 1's Ali Plumb, writer and critic Anna Bogutskaya, broadcaster Edith Bowman and actor Rufus Jones.

Image caption,
The BBC has lost several popular podcast hosts recently, including Peter Crouch (pictured) and Americast's Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel

Mayo also used to present a show on BBC Radio 2, but exited the station in 2018 after a revamped drivetime show he co-hosted with Jo Whiley proved unpopular with listeners.

He continued to co-host the weekly 5 Live show with Kermode after leaving Radio 2, but also took a new role with media giant Bauer, presenting shows on its classical station Scala Radio and the popular music station Greatest Hits Radio.

Fans and friends of the show were quick to react on Twitter, with Radio 1 critic Plumb writing: "I cannot conceive of the show ending, so relieved it'll be back in some form!"

The Jewish Chronicle's film critic Linda Marrin wrote: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Five years of Film Studies didn't teach me as much about film criticism as Mark did."

"I'm only doing what I do now because of how profoundly @KermodeMovie, @simonmayo & @wittertainment inspired me as a kid getting into cinema," added Empire Magazine's Jordan King. "I can only presume this isn't the end, but if it is then what a legacy to have forged on the airwaves."

"So sad to say goodby to an absolute colossus, if not the colossus of British radio," said John Robins, whose 5 Live show immediately precedes Kermode and Mayo. "Thank you for two decades of sanity and companionship. I sincerely hope it will be alright in the end."

The Film Review show, also known as Wittertainment, developed a loyal following over two decades. In addition to its popularity on 5 Live, the show also attracts a healthy audience to its podcast, which features additional material.

BBC Radio 5 Live's controller, Heidi Dawson, said: "Mark and Simon's unique partnership has been an important part of BBC Radio 5 Live for 21 years. Their decision to end the programme is a sad moment; they will be much missed by our listeners and everyone at the station."

Kermode and Mayo's departure follows the exits of several high-profile BBC figures, many of whom are taking their programmes to the commercial sector.

Emily Maitlis and Jon Sopel, presenters of Americast, have joined Global for a new show, while The Peter Crouch Podcast is moving from the BBC to podcast company Acast.

Related Topics