Whi­ley: re­lent­less crit­i­cism of my Ra­dio 2 show left me in tears

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Han­nah Fur­ness

JO WHI­LEY, the Ra­dio 2 broad­caster, has spo­ken of the “sav­age” crit­i­cism of her Driv­e­time show, ad­mit­ting it left her in tears.

Whi­ley, who be­came Si­mon Mayo’s co-host on the pop­u­lar af­ter­noon show in May be­fore the part­ner­ship was dis­banded just be­fore Christ­mas, said she had been sub­jected to “hurt­ful, in­sult­ing” re­sis­tance from a “very vo­cal bunch of peo­ple”.

Say­ing the re­lent­less crit­i­cism had “chipped away” at her, she added: “Aside from fam­ily dra­mas, this is the tough­est thing I’ve had to en­dure.”

Whi­ley re­turns to Ra­dio 2 with a new evening show tonight at 7pm, in a new sched­ule for the sta­tion that in­cludes Zoe Ball as the first fe­male host of the break­fast show and Sara Cox from 5pm.

In Oc­to­ber, the BBC an­nounced that Mayo would be leav­ing Ra­dio 2, fol­low­ing sig­nif­i­cant crit­i­cism of the broad­cast­ers’ on-air part­ner­ship.

In an in­ter­view with The Mail on Sun­day’s Event mag­a­zine, Whi­ley said she had not been able to “find her voice” on the show, ex­plain­ing: “I was try­ing to pre­tend to be a driv­e­time DJ when I should have just been my­self.”

Of the crit­i­cism, she said: “There was this wall of re­sis­tance to me from a very vo­cal bunch of peo­ple. It was hurt­ful, in­sult­ing. It made me look at who I am not just as a broad­caster but as a per­son. It made me re­assess ev­ery­thing. It’s too easy to hate these days.”

She added: “And it was re­lent­less, ev­ery hour of ev­ery day. No mat­ter how tough and re­silient you are, that chips away at you. I was tear­ful quite a lot of the time. Some days it was hard to walk out of my front door, let alone present a ra­dio show. In­vari­ably the crit­i­cism was from women. It was the most dis­ap­point­ing thing in the world.”

The Driv­e­time part­ner­ship of Whi­ley and Mayo fi­nally ended on Dec 21, after com­plaints from lis­ten­ers. Char­lotte Run­cie, a Tele­graph critic, called the show “one long cringe, so pal­pa­ble was the dis­com­fort of the two hosts”.

Mayo, who has pre­sented a ra­dio show for more than 30 years and left Ra­dio 2 fol­low­ing their fi­nal Driv­e­time show, con­firmed that he would be an­nounc­ing a new show this month, while Whi­ley starts an evening mu­sic pro­gramme Mon­days to Thurs­days, which she de­scribed as a “dream show”.

In Oc­to­ber, Mayo tweeted his sup­port for his co-host, say­ing: “When the show was ‘re­con­fig­ured’, she was my first and only choice. Some of the abuse she has had has been ap­palling.”

Ahead of her new break­fast show, Ball said she had been try­ing to de­cide what time to go to bed in or­der to wake up to her new morn­ing alarm.

“The av­er­age sort of time is peo­ple seem to go to bed at 9ish, which is go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing be­cause my daugh­ter goes to bed about that time,” she said. She joked that her daugh­ter was go­ing to end up putting her to sleep, read­ing her a story and “mak­ing sure that I’m not re­ally on my phone or sneak­ily look­ing at the tele­vi­sion”.

Jo Whi­ley has opened up about the hos­til­ity di­rected at her, largely by women

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