Controller of Radio 4 Gwyneth Williams to leave the BBC

Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4 and 4 Extra, is to leave the corporation after joining 43 years ago.

Gwyneth first worked as a talks writer at the World Service, later becoming Head of Radio Current Affairs and Director of BBC World Service English before being appointed Controller of Radio 4 in September 2010.

Tony Hall, Director-General, says: “It’s hard to overstate Gwyneth’s contribution to the BBC and our audiences – few can match her achievements. From her time in Current Affairs, the World Service, and Radio 4, Gwyneth has always put giving listeners the best in thoughtful and illuminating programming first. She’s been a dear colleague and I’m personally thankful to her for all she’s done. Whilst she’ll be very much missed, I wish her all the best for the future.”

Gwyneth Williams says: “I have had eight wonderful years running Radio 4, a national treasure at the very heart of the BBC’s public service purpose. My goal has been to keep the station intelligent and to build audiences by smartening up not dumbing down, making sure Radio 4 is the place to come for greater understanding, particularly in these turbulent times.

“I have worked with remarkable people throughout my career and none more so than my tiny, hard-working and brilliant team at Radio 4. I grew up listening to the World Service in apartheid South Africa, so that too has a special place in my heart.”

The BBC says during her tenure, Gwyneth has introduced a wider range of voices to the station, which now has women fronting most of the main news programmes and diverse presenters across a number of high profile titles.

Bob Shennan, Director of Radio and Music, says: “There isn’t another station like Radio 4, it has a unique role in the lives of its listeners and for the nation. Gwyneth has been a great custodian and under her watch over the last eight years the station has found new ways to broaden our understanding of the world through its rich mix of news, documentaries, drama and comedy.”

James Purnell, Director of Radio and Education, says: “Very few can rival Gwyneth’s contribution to BBC Radio, nor her ability to craft a schedule full of illuminating and varied programming. She has brought brilliant Radio 4 programming to new audiences. Working with Gwyneth has been a pleasure, and I wish her well.”

Gwyneth Williams will continue as Controller of Radio 4 until late spring. The BBC will appoint her replacement in due course.