Emma Barnett was “delighted” to join Radio 4’s Today programme

image caption, Emma Barnett presented her first edition of the Today program on Wednesday

  • Author, Steven McIntosh
  • Role, Entertainment reporter

Broadcaster Emma Barnett said she was “delighted” to present the first edition of Radio 4’s Today program as she joined co-host Amol Rajan on Wednesday.

Barnett greeted listeners of the news program by saying, “Good morning, nice to be here.”

The 39-year-old replaces Martha Kearney, who announced in February that she was quitting the show.

However, Kearney will not be leaving until after the general election, meaning the two presenters will both appear on air in the coming months.

For her first interview in the 08:10 slot, considered the show’s most prestigious, Barnett spoke to Police Minister Chris Philp.

She also interviewed James Coates, the son of Ian Coates, the school caretaker killed in Nottingham last year, and ended the show with a discussion about music playlists.

Mark Lawson of The Guardian said that Barnett sounded somewhat chattier and more informal than some previous Today presenters, commenting that “while she has left 5 Live and Woman’s Hour, they haven’t left her”.

“Her sparkling style has blended with Rajan, who is increasingly introducing a touch of editorial bonhomie,” he said.

Barnett and Rajan were seen cuddling up in the studio when she made her debut.

Lawson noted that the “relaxed tone” of Barnett’s first program “was partly due to … an unusually slow news day”.

image caption, Barnett and co-host Amol Rajan were seen cuddling up in the studio as she made her debut

In another four-star review of the programme, Chris Bennion of the Telegraph said: “Her soothing tone, her interviews pure silk and steel, Barnett’s early first shift bodes well for the future – unless you’re politician.

“She handled the highs and lows of the three hours well,” he continued, “even if it took an hour or so for the 3 a.m. tailor to leave her voice (can a voice ring with terrified eyes?) “

Barnett referred to Today as “this esteemed program,” he noted, “showing perhaps for the first time that she thinks of the show she hosts as bigger than herself.

“It’s no stretch to say that her work on 5 Live and Woman’s Hour felt like a step up.”

The Daily Mail suggested listeners were divided over her arrival, noting that while most welcomed her on the airwaves, some felt her treatment of a story about a sex education policy was too strong for breakfast radio.

The program ended with a discussion about music playlists, prompted by Barnett’s comment that she used songs such as Gimme More by Britney Spears, Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin and Cold as Ice by MOP to help her prepare for her new role.

This piece didn’t please everyone, however, with Bennion writing: “The harrowing final segment – ​​definitely emergency filler – on the music playlists, featuring Edith Bowman and Jeffrey Boakye, was a blot on an otherwise solid debut.

“‘What does music mean to you?’ she asked Bowman, confused, Barnett is better than this kind of mess – something he’d proven in the last three hours.

image caption, Barnett replaces Martha Kearney, who will step down from the program after the next general election