Emma Barnett gets tearful as she signs off from BBC Radio 5 Live

Emotional Emma Barnett gets tearful as she cracks open a beer on air ‘with a Scotch egg’ as she signs off from BBC Radio 5 Live after six years

  • Emma Barnett, 35, got emotional as she signed off from BBC Radio 5 Live today 
  • The outspoken presenter is set to take over as Woman’s Hour host in January 
  • She marked the end of her time at Radio 5 Live with a beer and a Scotch egg 

A tearful Emma Barnett cracked open a beer on air with a ‘scotch egg’ today to mark the end of her six years on BBC Radio 5 Live. 

The outspoken presenter, 35, from Manchester, is set to be the main host of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour from January 2021. 

Today, she signed off Radio 5 Live, describing her time as ‘nail-biting, emotional, real and truly magical’, saying farewell to her listeners by ‘raising a beer’.

She said: ‘When I joined 5 Live, full time on this programme, I was struggling to conceive – something very personal I felt I could share with you.

‘As I prepared this morning, for our news meeting, and our little boy was playing around my feet as I tried to read the newspapers, I couldn’t believe how much my life has changed, how much I’ve grown with you and how much you’ve taught me.

‘That’s because radio is a real relationship. ‘t is a heartbeat. It’s a daily rhythm. And you have to earn the privilege of people trusting you to share their stories.’  

Emma has regularly hit the headlines over the years with her outspoken comments about periods. 

Last year she said that if men had periods ‘menstrual leave would be baked into HR policies’ and  joked they would walk around with ‘tampons behind their ears’ if they menstruated and brag they’re a ‘three pad kind of guy’. 

In September, she claimed women’s health issues are ignored and under-funded because there is a ‘gender medicine gap’ which prioritises men’s needs.

She appeared on the BBC’s How Do You Cope? when she said conditions which only affect women have had little scientific research, while those that impact men as well – such as fertility – are well understood.

Emma criticised the lack of money being spent to research female-only conditions.

She was also accused of being a ‘Zionist’ by  apparent Jeremy Corbyn supporters on Twitter after she asked him about the cost of providing free pre-school childcare.

At the time, former Channel 4 economics editor Paul Mason also criticised her saying: ‘You repeatedly editorialised in a way no trained BBC journalist would, dropping in your own views/unsubstantiated claim.’  

Today, she praised some of her regular callers and the behind-the-scenes staff who work on her show as she signed off from 5 Live

Emma has regularly hit the headlines over the years with her outspoken comments about periods

She was also previously recently embroiled in controversy when critics questioned Newsnight’s lack of ethnic minority presenters and reporters.

Today, she praised some of her regular callers and the behind-the-scenes staff who work on her show as she signed off from 5 Live.

She added: ‘Please join me in raising a beer. Worry not, I have a Scotch egg with me so it is a substantial meal, in fact I’ve got two. They’re stinking out the studio right now.

‘Don’t be a stranger and thank you so very much.’

From January, Emma is set to present Woman’s Hour from Monday to Thursday each week, with a second presenter hosting the Friday and Saturday programmes. 

Controller of Radio 4, Mohit Bakaya, said she was ‘delighted’ Emma was joining the team, saying: ‘She started her BBC broadcasting career on Radio 4 and has continued to be closely involved with the network in general, and Woman’s Hour in particular, ever since. 

‘She brings a terrific combination of intellectual inquiry, robust journalism and curiosity about the human condition; I can’t think of anyone better to carry on the important job of identifying and exploring the issues that matter most to women.’ 

It comes after Radio 4 listeners were left ‘devastated’ after Jane announced she is quitting Woman’s Hour weeks after Dame Jenni Murray said she was leaving the show.  

She presented Woman’s Hour for 13 years and has interviewed some of the world’s biggest stars.

BBC Radio 5 Live star who’s spoken out about painful periods and the struggles of IVF

Emma Barnett, 35, was born on 5 February 1985 in Manchester to Ian and Michele Barnett, who were business owners in the Greater Manchester area.

She is from an Orthodox Jewish background and has described herself as ‘a Jew in disguise’.

In 2006, Barnett graduated with a degree in History and Politics from University of Nottingham and went on to take a postgraduate course in journalism at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.

Barnett began her career in journalism at Media Week in 2007 and joined The Telegraph in 2009, later becoming the paper’s first digital media editor.

From 2012, she was also the paper’s women’s editor, while she also worked as a radio presenter for LBC for almost three years until early 2014.

She went on to  join BBC Radio 5 Live that year, and started presenting the morning slot on BBC Radio 5 Live in September 2016.

In August 2016, Barnett’s ‘Tough Love’ agony column began in The Sunday Times magazine. 

Emma went on to become the youngest presenter on Woman’s Hour at the age of 26. 

In March 2019 she became one of the regular presenters on Newsnight, and that same year she released a book Period. It’s About Bloody Time, which covered her experience of endometriosis.

The period campaigner is outspoken about her own battles with the condition and last year revealed that she often goes on air with a hot water bottle because of the pain it can cause. 

Emma said she wasn’t listened to seriously for years over her endometriosis pain and this can make women not want to speak about their periods.

She has spoken frankly about her fertility struggles in the past and last year said she injected herself with IVF drugs in No 10 while trying to have a baby.

She also said a ‘particular low point’ in her treatment came when she injected hormones before going into a Skegness bingo hall to chat to voters, having failed to track down the then Ukip leader Paul Nuttall.  

The presenter met her husband at university and the couple share their two-year-old son.   

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