Home entertainment Rick Edwards says stations must evolve as he takes on Fighting Talk role

Rick Edwards says stations must evolve as he takes on Fighting Talk role

Rick Edwards says stations must evolve as he takes on Fighting Talk role

Rick Edwards has said he thinks it is “imperative” that stations evolve and bring in new voices ahead of taking on the lead presenting role on BBC Radio 5’s Fighting Talk.

Edwards, who co-hosts the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast programme, will take over the show from Colin Murray after he announced earlier this year he would be stepping down while continuing to concentrate on the station’s late night programme four days a week.

From Saturday at 11am, Edwards will act as judge and jury on the popular sports-based panel show which sees comedians, sports stars and broadcasters debate the biggest sporting issues of the week in a bid to earn points for punditry.

BBC Radio has seen a number of high-profile presenters move stations recently, including Radio 2’s Ken Bruce leaving to Greatest Hits Radio and Scott Mills leaving Radio 1 for Radio 2.

Edwards told the PA news agency that he feels his appointment is just “a little bit of tinkering” at the station but not a “wholesale change where the audience is going to be shocked”, as listeners will already know him from the breakfast show and Murray will still be on the airwaves.

He added: “With Ken Bruce leaving to Greatest Hits… some of those old school radio legends are moving on or have moved on. I think that’s part of radio.

“And there’s always a little bit of resistance from the audience because radio is such an intimate medium and you end up feeling like these people are your friends, and they’ve been with you for so long, and you’re so comfortable with them, so to then not have them I think can be difficult.

“But it’s also, I think, imperative that the stations do change and bring in new new voices because you can’t just wait until people die and then replace them.

“You have to have a bit of movement and evolution so I don’t think any of it is bad.”

Edwards previously took over the breakfast slot from Nicky Campbell in 2021 and co-hosts alongside Rachel Burden.

He said that he learned from that experience that people get used to change “pretty quickly”, adding: “There’s reservations and as long as you do a good job, then people are really more open than they might imagine to that kind of change…

“I think you just have to get over the initial hump, both as the person who’s doing the show and also as the audience and I think it can happen quite quickly – not always, but generally speaking.”

The presenter has been a pundit on the show on many occasions previously, but he admitted that he is feeling a “heady mix of nervous and excited” ahead of helming the show on Saturday.

He said he does not have any major plans to shake up the format but feels that as he is quite different from Murray, and that the show will naturally have a different feel.

“It’s a show that’s been going for 20 years and people really love it, including myself. It’s slowly evolved over the years, I’d like to just be part of that slow evolution,” he added.


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Edwards also noted that Murray and former host Johnny Vaughan are his favourite Fighting Talk presents but that they are also both “incredible talkers” which he said is not quite his style, adding: “So I suppose (my show) will be less from the host and a bit more from the panellists, would be my guess.”

He also revealed the sports stars on his bucket list for the show include Tennis players John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova as well as former Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt.

– Fighting Talk returns to BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds on Saturday September 2.