Woman’s Hour presenter Emma Barnett to join BBC Radio 4 Today programme

Emma Barnett is joining BBC Radio 4 Today programme’s presenting team, and will also front TV documentaries and cross platform news-making interviews for the BBC.

The former 5 Live and Newsnight presenter will leave Woman’s Hour in April, before taking up her new role in May.

Emma says: “We are living in volatile times where sometimes even asking a question can seem risky – wrongly so. My ambition on the Today programme is to keep asking the questions that listeners want answers to – as well as raising many smiles along the way – while armed with a very strong cup of tea.

“I am delighted to be joining a programme that occupies such a unique space in British life and to also have the opportunity to expand my work across BBC TV and News.

“My time on Woman’s Hour means a great deal to me and I want to thank the team and our mighty army of listeners for how much we have shared – the joy, wisdom, sorrow and sometimes sheer rage. I will carry so many of those moments with me for the rest of my life – chief amongst them conducting Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s first interview after her long-awaited release from prison in Iran; making a rare and special conversation happen with Kate Bush and reflecting the overwhelming response to the rape, abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer.

“I will greatly miss being within the rare and unique space Woman’s Hour provides, where most days anything can happen and routinely does. All power to the next person gifted the opportunity.”

Deborah Turness, CEO of BBC News, says: “Emma is a formidable, fearless and ferociously intelligent journalist and I’m delighted that she will be showcasing her considerable talents across all of BBC News’ platforms.”

She adds: “Emma will bring her unique energy and verve to our brilliant team of Today presenters – every day they ask the questions that need answering, and host the UK’s most important conversation. I’m thrilled that Emma is joining that team, who are at the top of their game.”

Mohit Bakaya, Controller, Radio 4, says: “Emma is a tenacious journalist who has brought her distinctive and forensic interview style to Woman’s Hour, leading to some remarkable radio moments over the past few years. During her time the programme has gone from strength to strength as she has championed her listeners and ensured that no subject remains taboo.

“I’m delighted that she will bring those qualities to the Today programme as she steps onto the biggest and best radio news stage in the UK to work alongside our terrific presenter team in this major election year.”

Owenna Griffiths, editor of Today, says: “Emma is a truly great radio talent and I’m completely delighted she’s joining the Today team. She consistently puts the audience at the heart of her programmes and her unique combination of warmth, energy and persistence will be a fantastic addition to the line-up.”

Woman’s Hour will be recruiting a new presenter for the programme. BBC Radio 4 is inviting expressions of interest from experienced live broadcasters who have strong journalistic credentials, warmth and gravitas to lead this flagship Radio 4 programme.