Belfast Telegraph

Sean Coyle in shock return to BBC with new radio show

Sean Coyle
Sean Coyle
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

Sean Coyle has returned to the BBC to present a new daily show on Radio Foyle.

The veteran host returns to the broadcaster just weeks after they cancelled his popular Radio Foyle and Radio Ulster programme.

His new show will only feature on the BBC Radio Foyle lineup and will be on the air until Spring 2020.

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

It quickly attracted over 7000 signatures and a host of leading names including SDLP chief Colum Eastwood and Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee expressed their sadness at the axeing.

Coyle said that he had been "overwhelmed by the response from listeners" asking him to return to the airwaves.

"So as a way of thanking them for their support, I’m going to be playing mine and their favourite songs on BBC Radio Foyle," he said.

"We’ll be able to say a bit more about it soon and I hope that people will listen in and be part of it all.”

The 72-year-old'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 last month after being told he did not fit in the station's plans earlier that week.

Sean Coyle with his late co-host and friend Gerry Anderson
Sean Coyle with his late co-host and friend Gerry Anderson

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

Coyle had 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.

Senior Head of Production at BBC NI Eddie Doyle said that the station had "always hoped" Coyle would continue in his role for "a bit longer".

"I’m pleased that we can now confirm this news," he said.

“We know that Sean’s departure from the weekday morning schedule has concerned many listeners. None of that has been easy. But the good news is that he’ll be now be bringing his unique mix of music, fun and audience interaction to the Foyle schedule.

“We expect to release details about Sean’s new BBC Radio Foyle programme over the next few weeks.”

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