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Claudia Winkleman signs off final BBC Radio 2 show with emotional goodbye

Claudia Winkleman has said goodbye to her BBC Radio 2 listeners, giving them her “biggest” thank you for tuning in each week.

The 52-year-old presenter, who joined the station in 2008, announced in December she would leave her 10am to 1pm Saturday slot, saying she wants to spend more time with her children.

Romesh Ranganathan, who has an midnight to 1am Radio 2 weekend show, will take over.

Winkleman moved to her Saturday morning slot in February 2021, replacing Irish comedian Graham Norton, who moved to present a show on Virgin Radio.

Graham Norton Show – London
Romesh Ranganathan is taking over the Saturday-morning slot (Matt Crossick/PA)

She told Radio 2 listeners on Saturday: “We have come to the end and I am allergic, I don’t know whether you know this (but I’m allergic) to goodbyes.

“But I do want to say thank you, many thank yous if that’s alright with you.

“I would love to thank Helen and everyone at Radio 2. I’d love to thank the brilliant people who have worked on this show, specifically Phil, Jeff, and Grace, but there are so many more.

“But my biggest thanks are to you, the listeners, I have worked in telly for, I think, 24 years and I’m just being completely honest, I have never been more nervous than I was taking over for Graham.

“And you were warm, you were so welcoming, you were so lovely to me. I love your excellent weekly messages, all the updates.

“So, I just want to say thank you so much. Do me one last favour, be lovely to Romesh and please look after my (traffic news reporter) Sally (Boazman). This is from me, to you and it could only be this.”

She then played her final song, which was the Oasis hit Wonderwall.

Winkleman had earlier received messages from various celebrities including former Oasis star Liam Gallagher.

Liam Gallagher Manchester tram announcements
Liam Gallagher was among those who sent her farewell messages (Ian West/PA)

Gallagher said: “I heard it’s your last Radio 2 to show today. Congratulations. Thanks for all support over the years and being a true faithful. See you soon.”

Winkleman also hosts hit psychological series The Traitors on the BBC, which sees faithful contestants try to find the traitors who will cause them to lose prize money if they are still there during the final.

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, Ranganathan, former Coronation Street actress Angela Griffin and comedian Rob Beckett, also a host at the station, said their goodbyes to Winkleman.

Ranganathan said: “I just wanted to wish you the very, very best of luck, not luck, you don’t need like luck, the very, very best of wishes for your last show.

“I’m so excited and nervous to take over the show and every time (I’ll) be doing the show, I’ll be thinking I’m enjoying doing the show, but isn’t it a shame that Claudia isn’t doing the show?

“The point I’m trying to make is I love you, Claudia, all the best.”

Boazman said: “I couldn’t wait to get to work every Saturday. It’s been wonderful and I’ll miss you.”

Claudia Winkleman comments
Claudia Winkleman from The Traitors (Ian West/PA)

Winkleman then appeared emotional as she said she would “miss” her as well.

She said: “I’m so lucky, Sal, that you were here. I mean it because we have (had) such a good time together.

“I would always, you know, come in (early and) find you when I first started … because I was so nervous … And I would just find you and you would look after me. So, well, I love you, we’re friends for life.”

Elsewhere, Geordie duo Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly joined for Winkeman’s final Little Wins, a competition where viewers vote for their favourite guests who told the best stories about their successes.

McPartlin and Donnelly, who said they were rehearsing for ITV show Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, appeared on Winkleman’s first Little Wins.

Winkleman first hosted the comedy quiz series Hot Gossip on Radio 2 before moving to different slots on the same station and helming the programmes Claudia Winkleman Arts Show and Claudia On Sunday.

Ranganathan is set to take over Winkleman’s Saturday show in April.

She also co-hosts celebrity competition Strictly Come Dancing with Tess Daly.