BBC’s oldest presenter Bill Rennells slams ‘heartless’ decision to axe 13-year radio show: ‘BBC caused such heartbreak’

BBC’s oldest presenter Bill Rennells slams ‘heartless’ decision to axe 13-year radio show: ‘BBC caused such heartbreak’

Eamonn Holmes and Ellie Costello pay tribute to BBC Radio legend Steve Wright

GB News
Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 04/03/2024

- 18:37

Harmony Night was axed on New Year's Eve 2023 with the oldest BBC presenter speaking out on his views

BBC Radio presenter Bill Rennells has hit out at the broadcaster's decision to axe his show and claimed they were “heartless” with their reasonings.

The programme was reportedly not axed due to budget cuts and insisted the show was shelved because of “audience habits”.

The BBC praised Rennells for his “commitment, time and energy” to host the show for 13 years – but he recently hit out at the “cruel” decision.

Bill had worked at the BBC for over 40 years and first joined as a news producer at Radio Oxford in 1970, but that didn’t stop him from blasting the “heartless” decision.

Sharing an update on the Harmony Night website on March 3, he revealed that he and his partner Rita had listened to the last-ever Harmony Night episode together with “mixed emotions”.

“The uppers were the heart-warming messages we received from you, the downers were in the incredulity that the BBC should be so heartless as to destroy such a jewel in the crown as Harmony Night and to cause such heartbreak in the process.

Bill Rennells

Bill Rennells' Harmony Night's show was axed


“I find no joy in predicting that within 10 years or so, there will be no BBC. We wish this sort of happiness on all our extended Harmony Night family. Our joint love is something the BBC cannot destroy.”

This isn’t the first time that Rennells has voiced his thought’s on the BBC’s decision, as he previously said in a statement to The Sun: “So many adjectives have been used for the destruction of our beautiful Harmony Night and the league leader of those is ‘cruel’

“Our last night was so emotional. It is ludicrous that they destroyed us when the programme was at the height of its strength and popularity.”

Bill Rennells

Bill claimed the BBC's decision was heartless


At the time, a spokesperson from the BBC said: “We are grateful for the commitment, time and energy that Bill put into the presentation and production of Harmony Night and the years he worked as a sports reporter and commentator at BBC Radio Oxford.

"The budget for BBC Local services has not been cut, but audience habits are changing, and licence fee payers want more content available to them when they want it.

“So we have invested in providing more local digital news and we have increased the local content available on BBC Sounds.”

Bill Rennells

Bill Rennells has slammed the BBC


Rennells spent eight years at Radio Oxford before joining Radio 2 initially on the Thursday night graveyard slot as well as fronting Music From the Movies.

By early 1984, he was hosting the early morning programme and by the end of the year he took over late night show Nightride.

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