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Radio presenter Julian Clegg to step down after nearly 23 years

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Breakfast show presenter Julian Clegg is retiring from the programme in December
Breakfast show presenter Julian Clegg is retiring from the programme in December

POPULAR BBC Radio Solent breakfast show presenter Julian Clegg revealed live on air he has decided to hang up his headphones later this year.

Julian, who lives in Tiptoe, told listeners the broadcast on 5th December – which is his 60th birthday – will be the last time he signs off.

“That is going to be my last breakfast show and my last show on BCC Radio Solent,” he said on Tuesday.

Prior to making the announcement just after 8am, Julian said: “I haven’t told anyone else this”, adding he will have worked on the breakfast show for nearly 23 years by the time he leaves.

“It’s time for me and [wife] Carolyn to have a lie-in, time for me and Carolyn and [their two dogs] Teddy and Freddy to have some new adventures.”

He thanked his “wonderful audience”, adding: “Thank you very much for your support, your calls, your input, et cetera, and let’s continue to talk between now and December 5th.

“I want to thank all the people who worked for me over the years, who have been amazing,” Julian continued, stressing he did not want the period until his departure solely to be a “big goodbye”.

Julian's first break into BBC local radio was in Sussex, but in 1997 he went back to his roots to join BBC Radio Solent and set up home in the New Forest.

Such is his popularity as a presenter he has a loyal band of followers – who are known as ‘Julian’s people’ – and many make daily contributions to his show.

He gets up at 4am daily, with the assistance of Carolyn, and travels into the BBC studios in Southampton for 6am to plan the show, an hour before it is broadcast.

It covers the local and national issues of the day, as well as allowing listeners to debate various topics on air. Julian is known for his inclusive attitude and sympathetic approach to his listeners, and prides the show on its interaction with different points of view.

After completing each programme, Julian spends an hour with his producers planning the next day’s broadcast before going home and sleeping for most of the afternoon.

He wakes up in the early evening and spends time with his family, often walking his dogs across the Forest, before going to bed at 8.30pm for the next day’s show.

Julian actively supports local businesses and charities, presenting at events, handing out prizes, opening facilities or switching on lights – including at the notorious Byron Road Christmas event in Barton.

In 2017, on the date of the 20th anniversary of his BBC Radio Solent stint, the station put on a special show acknowledging his contribution from the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. He was presented with a special cake in the shape of an old BBC radio microphone.

After Julian’s impromptu announcement, BBC Radio Solent managing editor Sarah Miller said: “I think it goes without saying that to present a breakfast show for so many years requires a very special, talented and resilient person.

“He's a rare breed of presenter who can guide listeners from the tough, dark news to the funny and inspiring stories. It’s a radio craft hard to achieve, but he makes it sound so easy.”

Fellow DJs and radio personalities took to Twitter to praise Julian.

BBC Radio Solent DJ Simon Clarke offered his congratulations, tweeting: “After 23 years of 4am starts he’ll be hanging up his headphones in December.

“The most dignified announcement on air too,” he added.

DJ Steve Power, who works for rival station Wave105, praised Julian, with whom he worked at BBC Radio Sussex when first starting out.

“Congratulations Julian Clegg for an amazing stint on @BBCRadioSolent. Breakfast rivals for many years but also a very kind mentor to an aspiring oik when I started on @BBCRadioSussex. Good luck for the future Julian!”

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