Sunday 18 August 2019

BBC's Stephen Nolan quits BBC Radio 5 Live show to have more 'me time'

Stephen Nolan of BBC Radio Ulster
Stephen Nolan of BBC Radio Ulster

Stephen Nolan has revealed that his desire for more "me time" lay behind his decision to stop co-presenting Radio 5 Live's Question Time Extra Time show.

The 44-year-old, who has a seven-day-a-week schedule of broadcasting commitments with the BBC in Belfast and London, says he has spent the past few years desperate to find a better work/life balance.

The Belfast-born presenter, who is once again attempting to tackle his long-standing weight problem, said: "I just can't go on working like this.

"I know that I need to look after myself as well and this will give me a better chance of doing that.

Stephen Nolan
Stephen Nolan

"Something has to give, and I don't want it to be my health."

Details of changes within BBC Radio 5 Live were revealed in an email leaked to the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week.

Nolan is to be replaced by Adrian Chiles for Question Time Extra Time on Thursday nights as the BBC aims for a younger audience.

He will continue to host his 5 Live show on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, and the corporation said it was also exploring other projects with the broadcaster.

Nolan's decision to step back from his Question Time Extra Time show should ease some of the burden on his punishing weekly workload. Typically, Nolan will present his Radio Ulster show on Wednesday morning, then Nolan Live in the evening.

He is back on Radio Ulster the next morning, then on to the 5 Live Question Time Extra Time show that night.

Nolan then returns to the local airwaves for his Friday morning Nolan radio show, before broadcasting on 5 Live at the weekend.

Explaining that he had been mulling over the demands of his working life for some time, he added: "I said publicly back in August that I had decisions to make as I want a better work life balance than my current seven-day-a-week schedule is allowing me to have.

"I need a little bit more 'me time' and yet I am in a very flattering position that I have a range of options from broadcasters.

"Up until now I've just kept piling the work on top of more work, but unless I start staying awake overnight, I'm at maximum capacity now." He added: "The Nolan Radio Ulster Show, the 5 Live Nolan Show, The Nolan Live television show and The Top Table are each massive projects in themselves.

"And I'm in talks with the controller of 5 Live about a new politics format for his network on top of all that.

"I guess I just want to live a bit in 2018 as well."

He will be hoping the next 12 months are as successful as the past year. Nolan has been pulling in huge audiences that have surpassed even some of the national broadcaster's flagship shows.

Last Friday he tweeted: "Extraordinary audiences for Nolan Live this series on BBC1 - 45% share last Wed night again - more viewers at 11pm than The Apprentice at peak."

Earlier this month The Stephen Nolan Show was among the winners at the Royal Television Society NI programme awards in Belfast.

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Belfast Telegraph

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