Radio 4 is scrapping weekly magazine programme Midweek after 35 years on air, the BBC has announced.
The long-running Wednesday morning show – which is repeated again at 9pm – will come to an end on March 29 next year after launching in its current format in 1982.
It will be replaced by a presenter-free 30-minute interview series with leading artists, writers, poets and musicians.
The interviews will work as a chain, meaning most interviewees becoming the interviewer for their chosen guest. The show has been commissioned for four series of six episodes next year and will share the 9am Wednesday morning slot with other arts and factual shows.
Meanwhile, the presenter of Midweek since 1982, Libby Purves, will launch a new monthly Saturday programme exploring the vitality of theatre across the UK.
Purves, who became the youngest ever Today presenter in 1976 aged 26, said: “It is certainly important that Radio 4 should cover more fully the remarkable variety and adventurousness of British theatre at all levels around the country, and I am glad to be a part of its move towards this.”
Radio 4′s controller Gwyneth Williams said: “Midweek, presented by the formidable broadcaster, Libby Purves, has provided countless memorable moments over many years. I want to thank all the guests and excellent producers who have brought such a degree of surprise and pleasure to our Wednesday mornings.
“Most of all my thanks, both personal and on behalf of listeners to Libby, for the outstanding job she has done as presenter for so long.”
“Theatre is having a golden moment and Libby is the perfect person to bring that story to the Radio 4 audience with her knowledge and passion, and I’m delighted that she will stay with us on Radio 4.”