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Sean Coyle back on Radio Foyle airwaves after coronavirus self-isolation

Sean Coyle

Long-serving BBC radio presenter Sean Coyle will return to the airwaves next week after spending a number of weeks in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, Coyle (73) announced he was taking some time off from his weekday show on Radio Foyle.

The BBC confirmed on Friday, April 24 he will return to his 3pm show on Monday, April 27, and will be broadcasting from his living room.

Speaking on BBC Radio Foyle’s Breakfast Show on Friday morning, he said: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s business as usual on BBC Radio Foyle from just after the 3pm news. I want to hear the stories, what people have been doing.

“People need another friend in the corner of the room, someone to talk to, and hopefully Radio Foyle is that friend.”

Last August, Mr Coyle's popular mid-morning Radio Foyle and Radio Ulster programme was axed amid a shake up to the schedule.

The slot was then taken over by the late Stephen Clements.

News of Coyle's show being cancelled was met with massive fan backlash and an online petition was started urging the BBC to reinstate him.

It quickly attracted over 7,000 signatures and a host of leading names including SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee expressing their sadness at the show's cancellation.

Coyle's show had been cancelled in the same week as the fifth anniversary of his long-time on air partner Gerry Anderson's death.

He announced his immediate departure from the BBC in an emotional address live on air after being told he did not fit in the station's plans.

The popular host told listeners that "he did not want to go", but had been left with no choice by BBC management.

However, in September 2019 it was announced that he would return to present a new daily show on Radio Foyle, which would be on the air until spring 2020.

Coyle has been a fixture on the airwaves of BBC Radio Ulster for more than 35 years, first alongside Gerry Anderson, and then with his own show after his friend's death in 2014.

The show aired from 10.30am to noon every weekday and was the third most listened-to radio show on Radio Ulster.

A BBC spokesperson added: “Sean announced he was going into self-isolation back in mid-March and he’s now ready to return to his usual time of 3pm on BBC Radio Foyle and, in accordance with government advice, he’ll be at home, presenting his programme from there.”

Belfast Telegraph