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Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 12:39 GMT
MacGregor to quit Today
With colleagues James Naughtie (left) and John Humphrys
The Today "family" is about to lose a key member
Broadcaster Sue MacGregor is to leave BBC Radio 4's Today programme after nearly 18 years, the BBC has confirmed.

The formal announcement from the corporation follows several months of speculation over whether the veteran presenter will renew her contract with the early-morning news programme.

MacGregor is to step down in February - and will mark the occasion with an appearance as a castaway on the station's Desert Island Discs.

Sarah Montague signs up for 120 programmes
Sarah Montague signs up for 120 programmes

Her role will be taken over by three presenters.

Sarah Montague will take the bulk of the work, having signed up for 120 programmes, with Allan Little and Edward Stourton also sharing duties.

MacGregor said: "Working on Today over all these years has been enormously enjoyable, challenging, stimulating and, yes, occasionally exhausting.


"For a presenter it's just about the best programme on BBC Radio, and it's been a great privilege to have been there for so long.

"But now it's time to move on. I shall miss it hugely."

You get to know someone very well at 4am, and the Today family will seem strange without her.

James Naughtie

MacGregor is also well known to Radio 4 listeners through her work on Woman's Hour, Tuesday Call and other programmes.

Fellow Today presenter James Naughtie said MacGregor was "one of the great figures of radio".

"Her voice and style are part of our lives. We're all going to miss her on the programme.

"You get to know someone very well at 4am, and the Today family will seem strange without her.

"Her breadth and subtlety have made her a friend to millions of listeners over the years, because her natural intimacy makes them feel they know her."

Sue MacGregor
MacGregor has presented Today for 18 years

Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden paid tribute to the broadcaster, calling her "an iconic figure who has won the hearts of listeners".

"I think it will be a dead cert that we will commission other things for her that don't involve getting up at 3am - which is one of the disadvantages of Today," she said.

BBC director of radio and music Jenny Abramsky said: "From Woman's Hour to the Today programme, Sue MacGregor has been a towering figure on the radio landscape.

Richard Sambrook, director of BBC News, added: "Sue has made a huge contribution to making Today the most influential programme on radio.

"Her intelligence and experience shine through in everything she does.

"Although she will be sorely missed by the programme and its listeners, Sue undoubtedly will continue to be an enormous asset in other work she does for the BBC."

See also:

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