Radio Four Woman's Hour to be extended from current 45 minute slot

Woman’s Hour is finally going to last an hour: Radio Four programme will be extended from current 45 minutes as BBC bosses praise new presenters Emma Barnett and Anita Rani

  • Flagship BBC radio show will last the full hour for first time in its 74 year history
  • News follows strong 2021 figures for programme that has been on air since 1946 
  • Woman’s Hour editor praised ‘brilliant energy’ of the show’s new presenters
  • But host Emma Barnett has been at center of controversies since turn of the year

Radio Four’s flagship female show is set to be extended for the full hour later this year, as BBC bosses heaped praise on the programme’s new hosts.

After almost 75 years, Woman’s Hour will drop the end of show dramas and finally last the full hour for the first time in its history from May 17.

The programme, which attracts more than three million weekly on-air listeners, was given a fresh look in January with new hosts Emma Barnett and Anita Rani.

The flagship Radio Four show has been running since 1946 – with a specific focus on women’s voices and experiences.

Karen Dalziel, editor of Woman’s Hour, heaped praise on the ‘brilliant energy and curiosity’ of new presenters Barnett and Rani.

BBC Radio Four Woman’s Hour presenter Emma Barnett tweeted her delight at the news: ‘Bring on the power hour’

She said: ‘Woman’s Hour may be nearly 75 years old but there’s still so much to talk about!

‘It’s fantastic to have more time dedicated to the issues that really matter in women’s lives. 

‘Our new presenters Emma and Anita have brought brilliant new energy and curiosity to every programme, so now we can dig even deeper into the conversations that connect with our listeners as we keep them company each day.’

Woman’s Hour was among the top 10 most listened-to radio shows on BBC Sounds from January to March. 

The programme was plunged into controversy after outspoken presenter Emma Barnett’s interview with the Muslim Council of Britain’s first female leader in February.

Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Naz Shah were among more than 100 public figures who signed an open letter to the broadcaster criticising the ‘strikingly hostile’ Radio 4 discussion with the council’s Secretary General Zara Mohammed.

And in January, actress Kelechi Okafor refused to speak on Woman’s Hour after claiming she heard ‘degrading and vile’ comments from Barnett on her third day on the show.

Woman’s Hour broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 at 10am Mondays-Fridays, and 4pm on Saturdays.

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