Andrew Marr today revealed he was leaving the BBC after 21 years, including 16 years fronting his Sunday morning political programme – and will join LBC and Classic FM.
The 62-year-old said he was ‘keen to get my own voice back’ and would now focus on presenting political and cultural radio shows and writing for newspapers.
Father-of-three Marr, who is married to fellow political journalist Jackie Ashley, 67, and earns up to £339,999 a year at the BBC, added that leaving to join LBC’s owners Global would give him ‘a new freedom’ to do journalism with ‘no filter’.
MailOnline understands that Global will be paying Marr at least £500,000 a year for his new role, although the Leicester Square-based network refused to confirm this.
Industry experts said LBC would be a ‘great home for Andrew as he won’t have to abide by the BBC’s strict impartiality rules’. It comes after Marr hinted in May that he may be leaving the BBC because of ‘not being able to speak in your own voice’.
The Glasgow-born veteran broadcaster joined the BBC in May 2000 as political editor and later spent 16 years at the helm of his own Sunday morning show.
Global said Marr will be presenting new shows on LBC and Classic FM, a new weekly podcast on Global Player, and will also write a regular column for LBC’s website.
His exit comes as BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg is said to be in discussions about leaving her role to become a presenter on Radio 4’s Today programme.
Jon Sopel is the 6/4 favourite to replace her, with previous political editors such as Marr and Nick Robinson having moved on to other presenting jobs at the BBC.
This week Sarah Smith was made the BBC’s new North America editor, taking over from Sopel, and Marr’s departure suggests the staffing movements could continue.
Marr tweeted today: ‘Personal announcement. After 21 years, I have decided to move on from the BBC. l leave behind many happy memories and wonderful colleagues.
Andrew Marr will be presenting new radio shows on LBC and Classic FM from next year
Andrew Marr and his wife Jackie Ashley at the Royal Festival Hall in London on October 15
Global said Marr’s new ‘opinion-led programme’ on LBC will be ‘fully visualized’ online and he will ‘give his view on the biggest issues of the moment, along with agenda-setting guests’
‘But from the New Year I am moving to Global to write and present political and cultural shows, and to write for newspapers.
‘I think British politics and public life are going to go through an even more turbulent decade, and as I’ve said, I am keen to get my own voice back.
Andrew Marr: Father-of-three, 62, who has enjoyed a 40-year media career but once tried to gag the Press
Andrew William Stevenson Marr was born in Glasgow in 1959 and was privately educated in Scotland before gaining a first-class English degree at Cambridge University.
His media career began in 1981 when he joined The Scotsman as a trainee reporter, and in 1984 he moved to London where he worked as a parliamentary correspondent for the newspaper, before becoming a political correspondent.
He joined The Independent in 1986 as a member of the new newspaper’s launch staff before leaving for The Economist, where he ultimately became its political editor.
Marr returned to The Independent as the newspaper’s political editor in 1992, and became its editor in 1996, where he oversaw radical changes in its format in a bid to halt a decline in readership figures.
He left in early 1998, with some reports suggesting he was sacked, and took roles at different papers before arriving at the BBC as political editor in May 2000. It was a position he held until 2005 when he began presenting The Andrew Marr Show which has become the most important political television show of the week.
He also presents Radio 4’s Start the Week and has written more than a dozen books, including the History of Modern Britain.
Marr is married to political journalist Jackie Ashley, 67, with whom he has a son and two daughters – and he also has a love of painting.
In 2008 he took out a super-injunction to suppress reports of a relationship with a fellow journalist five years earlier.
At the time, he believed he had fathered a child with the woman. He also made maintenance payments – until he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the girl’s father.
The affair, which ended in 2003, was common knowledge at Westminster and within the BBC, but the injunction banned publication of his name in connection with the story.
Marr later admitted he was ’embarrassed’ about resorting to legal action, saying: ‘I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists.’
Then in 2012 he was photographed putting his hand down the trousers of an unnamed female colleague during an intimate late-night clinch in a Soho back alley.
After the pictures emerged, he said: ‘I am really embarrassed and so annoyed with myself. It was just a goodbye clinch. It had been a long drunken evening and it was just a silly thing.’
The veteran broadcaster, who lives in Primrose Hill, North London, has suffered a number of health scares over the past decade.
Marr was taken to hospital in January 2013 after suffering the stroke at home but returned to host his show later that year. In 2018, he declared ‘it’s good to be back’ after undergoing an operation to have a cancerous tumour removed from his kidney.
In June he contracted Covid despite being double vaccinated and felt ‘seriously ill’ but had fully recovered by the end of his quarantine period.
‘I have been doing the Andrew Marr show every Sunday morning for 16 years now and that is probably more than enough time for anybody!’
In a statement released by Global, Marr added: ‘Coming to Global gives me a new freedom – to do fast-paced, very regular political journalism on LBC with no filter, in entirely my own voice.
‘On Classic FM, I’ll be exploring my love of classical music, and culture generally, with some surprising guests. I feel I’m joining a young, hungrily ambitious and exciting company and I can’t wait to get stuck in.’
Marr received an annual salary from the BBC of up to £339,999 in the 2020/2021 year for his work on The Andrew Marr Show, Radio 4’s Start the Week, documentaries for BBC One and election night.
This was down from a salary of up to £364,999 in 2019/2020, and up to £394,999 in 2018/2019.
Addressing Andrew Marr’s departure from the BBC, its director-general Tim Davie said in a statement: ‘Andrew Marr has been a brilliant journalist and presenter during his time at the BBC.
‘He leaves an unmatched legacy of outstanding political interviews and landmark programmes. We wish him well for the next chapter.’
Other BBC colleagues including Newsnight policy editor Lewis Goodall were among those congratulating Marr on his lengthy career at the corporation.
Goodall wrote: ‘What a huge loss to the BBC Andrew but what an incredible contribution over so long. Best of luck with the new gig.’
And Fran Unsworth, the BBC’s outgoing director of news and current affairs, said: ‘Throughout his long and distinguished career at the BBC, Andrew has been a firm favourite with our audiences.
‘Andrew started at the BBC as a knowledgeable and insightful political editor and went on to become a feature of the UK’s Sunday mornings, on Sunday AM, which became the Andrew Marr Show. He is a fantastic presenter and interviewer, whose wisdom and skill will be a loss to our screens.
‘We thank him greatly for his years of service and wish him the best of luck in his new role.’
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid added: ‘Congratulations on the new role but this is a huge blow for the BBC and for those of us who rely on The Andrew Marr Show to set us up for the week ahead. Wishing the very best, to the best.’
Sky News political editor Beth Rigby said: ‘Sunday mornings won’t be the same without you on my telly. But very best of luck in your next chapter.’
And his new LBC colleague Eddie Mair joked: ‘It turns out that three years ago Global wanted to hire Marr but because of a typo they got me by mistake.’
Global said his new ‘opinion-led programme’ on LBC will be ‘fully visualized’ on Global Player and he will ‘give his view on the biggest issues of the moment, along with agenda-setting guests’.
The company said he was joining Britain’s biggest commercial news talk station which has posted its highest ever listening figures, with more than three million people now tuning in across the UK each week.
Radio industry consultant Paul Chantler told MailOnline today: ‘Andrew Marr is a major signing for Global and will further enhance respect and credibility for LBC in particular.
‘LBC is going from strength to strength and now has a stellar lineup of presenters. It’s a great home for Andrew as he won’t have to abide by the BBC’s strict impartiality rules.
‘At LBC, he will be allowed to express his own opinions and undertake interviews with attitude as impartiality is achieved across the output as a whole not just within a single programme. LBC will certainly allow him to find his own voice again.’
Marr has hosted the BBC’s flagship political programme, The Andrew Marr Show, for the past 16 years. He is pictured interviewing Prime Minister Boris Johnson on it in December 2019
Marr will also present a new programme on Classic FM, playing music and interviewing guests from the world of politics and arts.
Who will replace Andrew Marr on Sunday mornings?
Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning programme on BBC One has been appointment television for those in the Westminster bubble, as well as its keen observers. His departure from the corporation leaves a vacancy in one of the most high profile jobs in political journalism. Here are some of the contenders to replace him:
The BBC’s political editor is likely to be among the frontrunners for the job.
It was previously reported Kuenssberg is negotiating stepping away from her role of the past six years to join the Today programme as part of a major reshuffle of the BBC’s on-air staff.
The presenter of BBC Global Questions and HardTalk has hosted Marr’s show before so would be a familiar face to his regular viewers. She is bookmaker Coral’s favourite to take over, with odds of 2-1.
The presenter of Newsnight has won acclaim for her high profile interviews with the Duke of York, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and would be a sparring partner to be reckoned with when sitting down with political leaders.
It has been mooted that the former long-time BBC presenter could return to the fold after he stepped down from his roles as the chairman and host of a prime-time show on GB News.
Neil has since said it was a ‘huge mistake’ for him to become the face of the fledgling channel and hinted he is keen for another job in TV, saying: ‘I don’t want GB News to be the full stop in my broadcasting career.
The former BBC political editor, who has filled in for Marr before, is currently a presenter of both BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme and Political Thinking.
A regular presenter of BBC News At Six and Ten since 2010, the broadcaster has previously worked as the broadcaster’s correspondent in Asia, Africa, Washington, Paris and Brussels.
Earlier this year he replaced John Humphrys as the host of Mastermind, when the veteran journalist stepped down after 18 years in the role.
The award-winning broadcaster has presented some of the BBC’s biggest programmes, including Newsnight and Panorama, and fronted her own current affairs show.
When plans to axe her self-titled BBC Two programme were leaked, the host said she was ‘absolutely devastated’.
She was introduced to a whole new audience when she competed on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! last year.
The BBC’s media editor is a presenter of the prestigious Today programme on Radio 4, as well as Start The Week.
He is also a restaurant critic and makes regular appearances on television as a guest on the judging panel of MasterChef.
The BBC newsreader, who has also covered for Marr in the past, is one of the main presenters of the BBC News At Six and Ten. She has also presented election night coverage, as well as Watchdog, Crimewatch and coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show.
In May, Marr was interviewed at Aye Write, Glasgow’s book festival, and was asked whether he ever felt ‘a desperate urge to come out of the closet’ over his political views, replying: ‘Yes, absolutely.’
The Times reported at the time that Marr refused to say anything else about his personal political views, saying: ‘I cannot tell you now because I will lose my job.’
Marr added: ‘There are many privileges of working at the BBC, including the size of the audience and all of that, but the biggest single frustration by far is losing your own voice, not being able to speak in your own voice.
‘What I could say safely is that I think we are going to go through a period of politics — the next ten or 20 years — much more turbulent and much more interesting and testing and challenging then anything we have seen in the last ten years, which have been big enough.
‘I think it will be very, very hard for people like me to carry on being completely neutral and completely sotto voce all the way through that. At some point, I want to get out and use my own voice again.’
Ashley Tabor-King, founder and executive president of Global, said: ‘Andrew is one of the finest and most respected broadcasters and journalists of our time and we are honored to welcome him to the Global family, especially at a moment when we are celebrating record audience figures.
‘LBC now takes its next step. Andrew Marr will be an unmissable moment in the schedule and we are excited that he will be part of LBC and Classic FM’s incredible presenter line-up.’
Marr will join a host of other presenters at LBC including Nick Ferrari, James O’Brien, Eddie Mair, Shelagh Fogarty, Iain Dale, David Lammy, Camilla Tominey and Matt Frei.
He will also join the likes Alexander Armstrong, Moira Stuart, John Suchet, Myleene Klass, Margherita Taylor, Bill Turnbull, Alan Titchmarsh, John Humphrys and Charlotte Hawkins at Classic FM.
James Rea, director of broadcasting and content at Global, said: ‘It is fantastic to welcome a broadcaster of Andrew’s calibre to Global.
‘We are looking forward to him bringing his sharp, political insight to LBC at such an exciting time for the station and his passion for classical music and the arts to Classic FM. I know that our audience will enjoy listening and interacting with him from next year.’
Marr has hosted the BBC’s flagship political programme, The Andrew Marr Show, for the past 16 years and regularly presents on BBC Radio 4.
He is also a documentary-maker and author, having written more than a dozen books.
It comes just nine days after veteran broadcaster Adam Boulton, who is the same age at 62, said he would leave Sky News following more than 30 years after saying that there is a ‘move against the Baby Boomers’ in the TV world.
Having joined the channel as political editor for its launch in 1989, the 62-year-old public school-educated Oxford graduate has served as editor-at-large since 2014.
Mr Boulton’s departure was said to have been a mutual decision, although he said in an exit interview that television was now ‘very sensitive to the idea of diversity’.
Speaking about his fellow veteran Sky broadcasters Dermot Murnaghan, 63, and Kay Burley, 60, Mr Boulton told The Times: ‘We’ve had our day.’
The announcement of his departure came after John Ryley, the head of Sky News, said TV was moving away from the era of the ‘all-powerful anchor’.
And it was announced just seven months after his fellow veteran broadcaster Jon Snow said he would leave Channel 4 News at the end of this year.
The 73-year-old, who has spent 32 years as the show’s anchor, said he felt it was ‘time to move on’. However, he will continue to front future ‘longer-form projects’ for Channel 4.
Earlier this week Sarah Smith was appointed as the BBC’s new North America editor.
Adam Boulton with his wife, ex-New Labour spin doctor Anji Hunter, in London on October 15. He said last week that he would leave Sky News following more than 30 years
Jon Snow, who is set to leave Channel 4 News at the end of this year, and his wife Precious Lunga celebrate his Bafta fellowship in May 2015
The 52-year-old, who became the broadcaster’s first ever Scotland editor in 2014, takes over from Jon Sopel who left the post last month after seven years.
Prior to this, she was based in the US working for Channel 4 and helped cover big American news stories such as the 2008 presidential election and the global financial crash.
Smith is also a regular host on BBC programmes including the Today programme and Newsnight. She began her journalistic career as a trainee at BBC Scotland.
Her father was former Labour leader John Smith, who served as party leader from July 1992 until his death from a heart attack in May 1994.
From telling David Cameron to shut up, to Archbishop of York cutting up his dog collar: Famous moments on The Andrew Marr Show
The Archbishop of York cut up his dog collar during The Andrew Marr Show in December 2007 in protest over Robert Mugabe’s rule of Zimbabwe.
Dr John Sentamu said he would refuse to wear the Anglican symbol of office until Mugabe was no longer in power.
The Archbishop of York cut up his dog collar during The Andrew Marr Show in December 2007 in protest over Robert Mugabe’s rule of Zimbabwe.
His demonstration followed Mugabe’s controversial presence at the EU summit with African leaders in Lisbon
The archbishop criticised African leaders who rallied round Mugabe and defended him as a freedom fighter who liberated his country from white rule.
Speaking on Marr’s programme, Dr Sentamu took off his dog collar, saying: ‘As an Anglican this is what I wear to identify myself, that I’m a clergyman.’
He then took out a pair of scissors before snipping away at the dog collar, adding: ‘Do you know what Mugabe has done?
In November 2017, Dr John Sentamu put the dog collar back on, again on The Andrew Marr Show, after Mr Mugabe left office following 37 years of authoritarian rule
‘He has taken people’s identity and literally, if you don’t mind, cut it to pieces.
‘So, as far as I am concerned, from now on I am not going to wear a dog collar until Mugabe is gone.’
In November 2017, he put the dog collar back on, again on The Andrew Marr Show, after Mr Mugabe left office following 37 years of authoritarian rule.
David Cameron was told to ‘shut up’ by broadcaster Andrew Marr while appearing on his BBC programme in April 2014.
As the show drew to a close, the then-prime minister tried to speak about the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by the Boko Haram Islamist group.
David Cameron was told to ‘shut up’ by broadcaster Andrew Marr on the show in 2014
But footage published online shows Marr appearing to say: ‘I, I…Prime Minister shut up I’m afraid. I’m really, really sorry, we have run out of time.’
However, Mr Cameron did not appear to be angered by the interruption and quickly replied to Marr: ‘I’ve gone on, sorry.’
Andrew Marr faced criticism for his interview with Boris Johnson in October last year, which led to the BBC having to defend him as ‘duly impartial’.
The interview, which was said to have left 10 Downing Street furious, saw him interrupt the Prime Minister and claimed he was not telling the truth about wage growth in Britain.
Mr Johnson argued during the programme: ‘After more than 10 years of flatlining, what you’re seeing is people with low incomes being paid more.’
Andrew Marr faced significant criticism for his interview with Boris Johnson in October last year, which led to the BBC having to defend him as ‘duly impartial’
But Mr Marr retorted: ‘You’ve said something that isn’t true, I’m afraid. The Office of National Statistics (ONS), your own body, says that wages are not keeping pace with inflation. So, in real terms, over the last three months, wages have gone down, not up.’
LBC radio presenter Iain Dale later praised Marr as an impartial interrogator, but Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said she would ‘argue otherwise’.
In a response to viewer complaints, the BBC said: ‘There were many issues covered in the interview with the prime minister, such as violence against women, the HGV driver shortage and the national insurance tax rise, and so it was imperative for Mr Marr to keep the conversation on track in order to have time for them all. Sometimes Mr Marr repeated his question to press the prime minister into giving a clear answer for the audience.
‘Mr Johnson is no stranger to robust and challenging interviews and we consider it is appropriate to hold the leader of the nation to account on different issues. However, we’re satisfied that Mr Marr questioned Mr Johnson in a fair, duly impartial and professional manner.’