Jonathan Dimbleby to quit Any Answers?

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Jonathan Dimbleby is to step down from his Radio 4 phone-in show Any Answers? after nearly a quarter of a century.

He is to hand over the Saturday afternoon show to presenter Anita Anand, former presenter of TV’s Daily Politics and ex-Drivetime co-host on Radio 5 Live.

Dimbleby – who said he wants to spend more time with his family – will continue to present Any Questions? each week, the evening before.

Anand, a familiar voice to Radio 4 listeners from programmes such as Beyond Westminster, the Westminster Hour, Saturday Live and Midweek, will take over from June 9.

The BBC said the two programmes will remain closely linked in the issues they address.

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams said of the new host: “She knows her politics and is a tried and tested broadcaster who is interested in the lives and experiences of our listeners.”

The programme has been on air since 1954, giving listeners a chance to respond to issues raised in its sister programme. In 1989 it became a live phone-in.

Anand said: “I’m excited by the opportunities afforded by the programme to engage with listeners throughout the country and to hear their direct experiences of the big policy and political issues debated on Any Questions?

“I have admired Jonathan Dimbleby for many years and I take the stewardship of this wonderful programme very seriously indeed.”

Dimbleby – who has chaired Any Questions? since 1987, and took over Any Answers? the following year – said: “It’s a hard decision. It has been a privilege and pleasure to share so many conversations with listeners over these years.

“But, as I am not a politician, I hope I will not be misinterpreted if I say that I am handing over to Anita simply because I want to spend more time with my family, which means less time at the microphone.”