Paul O’Grady says he can ‘run free’ after hosting his last Radio 2 show | Paul O’Grady

Paul O’Grady thanked his listeners and said he could now “run free” as he left his last BBC Radio 2 show on Sunday.

O’Grady, 67, had hosted the Sunday afternoon show for nearly 14 years, before a schedule shake-up meant he shared the host role with comedian Rob Beckett, swapping all the 13 weeks.

In a social media post ahead of the show, he said his departure was due to the new arrangement.

“The reason I’m leaving, because everyone asked me to, is because I wasn’t really happy with the 13 weeks on, 13 weeks off,” he said on Sunday. in an Instagram post.

“So I did the honorable thing, honored my contract, gave my notice and now I’m leaving. Thank you very much and good luck to everyone on Radio 2 and long may it continue.

During his last show, he spoke of his time in the hot seat of his producer Malcolm Prince. “This is Paul O’Grady’s last Sunday show here on Radio 2. It’s hard to say, Malcolm, because it’s been almost 14 years, isn’t it?

“Do you know this is one of the longest jobs I have ever had. I only came to do a few hours for Elaine Paige and look what happened.

He continued: “Anyway, I always used to say I was fleeing the building and there was a big bubble that would grab me on Oxford Street and bring me back like a prisoner, but that’s not is not today and I can run free.

O’Grady thanked his listeners for tuning in and getting involved over the years. He also thanked his producer saying, “I really appreciate it because, let’s face it, it wouldn’t have been the same without you, would it?”

After playing his latest song, Friends by Bette Midler, he added: “From all of us here, from me and Malcolm and everyone, thank you for listening to these last 546 programs. So take care of yourself, stay safe and healthy. Ta-ra everyone.

The BBC has confirmed that Beckett will return for at least another 13 weeks of broadcasts from August 21.

O’Grady is the latest high-profile presenter to leave the station. Steve Wright, also 67, was replaced by Scott Mills, 48, after 24 years on the network.

And in July Vanessa Feltz, 60, announced she was quitting her shows on Radio 2 and BBC Radio London.

The BBC has been approached for comment.