BBC Radio 4 star issues ageism swipe as show axed after 25 years: 'The same age their audience is!'

BBC Radio 4 star issues ageism swipe as show axed after 25 years: 'The same age their audience is!'

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GB News
Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 09/04/2024

- 00:01

The BBC has faced a string of "ageism" claims throughout the years

Steve Punt has hit out at the BBC following the axe of his long-running radio series The Now Show, adding to increasing claims of ageism by the broadcaster.

The 61-year-old has fronted the radio show alongside Hugh Dennis since 2009, with the comedy programme having been on air for 64 series.

The current series of the BBC Radio 4 show will be its last, and presenters Punt and Dennis have opened up on the show’s axe.

When asked how the news was broken to them, Punt didn’t hold back as he admitted: “In a very BBC way!

“Over lunch, with some preamble, and then broken gently.” Speaking to Radio Times, he went on to take a dig as his employer.

“When we first joined Radio 4 for this programme 25 years ago, we were about 35 and so precisely the right age group for the audience that they were trying to then attract.

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis

Punt and Dennis have fronted the radio show since 2009


“And, now, 25 years later, we’re in our early 60s and precisely the same age as their audience actually is, so…”

Dennis went on to say that although the show was concluding, he and Punt weren’t leaving the network.

“We’re still very firmly on Radio 4. It’s just sort of changing where we are, rather than saying bye-bye,” he explained.

It was announced last month The Now Show would be coming to an end, along with the news that the two hosts would be remaining on Radio 4 with a new series, RouteMasters.

Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis

The presenters talked about the Now Show being axed


The new podcast will see Punt and Dennis as well as their guest take a journey through new knowledge, as in turn, they attempt to find the most entertaining route between random topics, people, places or things which at first glance appear to be entirely unconnected.

Punt’s ageism comments come as the broadcaster faces several old and new ageism accusations, with Frank Skinner’s Absolute Radio axe last month sparking a row on the subject.

Skinner left his listeners when he announced he was leaving his role at Absolute Radio after 15 years with the station.

The 67-year-old claimed he had been “sacked" by the network, which has since led to accusations of “ageism” towards the radio channel from listeners.

Steve Hunt

Hunt took a swipe at the BBC over 'ageism'


As he told fans of his breakfast show he'd be wrapping up for good, he confessed: “I'm not going to pretend I took it well.”

He claimed that he, along with co-hosts Emily Dean and Pierre Novellie, had been “sacked” by the station.

The presenter’s final radio show will be broadcast in May when his current contract ends after he was told it wasn't being renewed despite his show running since 2009.

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