Belfast Telegraph

Flood of support for departing BBC presenters - but you'll soon forget us, says Noel Thompson

Noel Thompson and Karen Patterson
Noel Thompson and Karen Patterson
Sarah Tulloch

By Sarah Tulloch

Good morning Ulster presenters Noel Thompson and Karen Patterson were flooded with messages of support from listeners during their first show since the announcement that they will leave their roles in 2020.

The BBC confirmed on Tuesday four of its household names will step down from presenting duties.

Noel and Karen will no longer present BBC Radio Ulster's flagship Good Morning Ulster (GMU) news programme.

Wendy Austin will leave Inside Business and Seamus McKee - who has been synonymous with the station for decades - is stepping down as host of Evening Extra.

The BBC said the presenters took the opportunity to stand down following a review into its schedules and programmes and they would be taking on new challenges and "enjoy a change of pace".

The GMU presenters read out some messages they had received from sorrowful listeners on Wednesday's Good Morning Ulster show.

Listener Elsa wrote in saying, "So sad that Noel and Karen are set to say goodbye to Good Morning Ulster listeners at the end of January. You'll be sorely missed. Thank you both for your company."

Sharon from Drains Bay said "GMU will never be the same" and thanked the pair "for the professionalism and humour".

Karen thanked the listeners "for all your best wishes and messages".

Noel admitted that although they had also received some "critical" comments, the pair would only be reading out "the kind ones".

Another listener Avril said she was shocked at the news saying the foursome were "irreplaceable".

"How right you are Avril," joked Noel.

He added: "BBC has strength and depth and two weeks after we're gone, you'll be going 'Karen, who? Noel, who?' but thank you for the kind thoughts."

Karen promised there was "lots more fun to be had" between now and the end of January, when the presenters will step away from the programme.

Decisions on their successors are to be announced at a later date.

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