Garvey says Woman's Hour risks centring trans issues over other topics

‘The show deserves fresh voices’: Outgoing Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey says producers are in danger of focusing on transgender debate at expense of other issues

  • Jane Garvey is leaving the Radio 4 programme after 13 years as its presenter
  • Garvey said trans issues were ‘a very, very difficult area’ but not ‘the most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about’ on air
  • The host said she had grown bored with interviewing minor celebrities and that the show ‘deserves fresh voices’ 
  • She says she hopes her replacement will also be someone in their 50s 

Woman’s Hour is in danger of focusing on subjects such as the transgender debate at the expense of issues which mean most to listeners, outgoing presenter Jane Garvey said yesterday.

Miss Garvey who leaves the Radio 4 programme later this month after 13 years, said she did not think the audience believed the subject was the ‘most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about’.  

When she was asked by a listener whether it was time to have more interviews with transgender and gender-fluid people on the programme, she replied: ‘Well, in answer to that, over the last couple of years I have interviewed more trans-women than trans-men on Woman’s Hour.

‘So that tells you something and people need maybe to think a little bit about that.’ 

She added: ‘I have also been called anti-trans and anti-women. I’ve been called too feminist. I’ve been called not feminist enough.

Woman’s Hour is in danger of focusing on subjects such as the transgender debate at the expense of issues which mean most to listeners, outgoing presenter Jane Garvey said yesterday. Pictured: Garvey in the studio in October

‘It is genuinely a very, very, difficult area. We are never going to please everybody listening when we talk about it.

‘I’d also have to say from a purely practical perspective, is this the issue that vexes our audience more than any other?

‘Do they think of it as the most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about? No! I honestly don’t think they do.’

On her departure she told the programme: ‘I must say I’m doing it with a heavy heart, but I absolutely emphatically know it’s the right thing selfishly for me and also actually for the programme as well.’

She added: ‘I’m self-aware enough to know that one of the things I am really going to miss is the, well let’s be honest about it, that kind of adulation you get from broadcasting. It’s just showing off.’

Miss Garvey told the programme: ‘I won’t miss interviewing so-called celebrities, no….It’s the traditional celebrity, we can all name people who are plugging something, they’re doing the rounds, they talk to everybody and Woman’s Hour is one of the places that they stop off to chat.

‘I’ll be honest with you I don’t think I’m especially good at those interviews, I’m certainly no better than anybody else and it all seems a bit routine,’ she said, adding that the show ‘deserves fresh voices’.

Garvey said that she hoped that the second presenter on Woman’s Hour, who will join new host Emma Barnett, who is in her thirties, would be someone who is older and in their 50s with lots of life experience. 

Garvey said she hoped the new co-presenter, who will join 35-year-old Emma Barnett (pictured), would be someone in their 50s who had lots of life experience [File photo]

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