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Woman’s Hour presenter Anita Rani: I did not think I belonged on Radio 4 show

The presenter took over presenting the Friday and Saturday editions of the programme, following the departure of Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray.

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(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

(Ian West/PA)

Woman’s Hour presenter Anita Rani has said she spent her life listening to the show but did not originally apply for the role as she did not did think that was where she belonged.

Rani, 43, began hosting the Friday and Saturday editions of the BBC Radio 4 programme in January this year.

She said her dad was also a big fan of the show, but it was her agent who encouraged her to apply for the job.

Appearing on the cover of November’s edition of Good Housekeeping, she told the magazine: “I’ve spent my life listening to Woman’s Hour – even my dad was a big fan of it.

“But I didn’t think that was where I belonged, so the job wasn’t on my radar. It was my agent who encouraged me to go for it.

“There was an application process, and I wrote something about sitting in Ubers and always asking them to put on Radio 4. I also mentioned vaginas!

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Anita Rani is on the November cover of Good Housekeeping (Helen McArdle)

Anita Rani is on the November cover of Good Housekeeping (Helen McArdle)

Anita Rani is on the November cover of Good Housekeeping (Helen McArdle)

“But because I didn’t think I’d get it, it made me more relaxed; there wasn’t the weight of expectation.”

In the same year, she has also released her memoir, The Right Sort Of Girl, which she has previously said helped her find her true identity and reclaim power for herself.

Rani said: “Getting a gig presenting Woman’s Hour and writing a book in one year is pretty massive!

“The book is the biggest achievement for me, at least on a personal level.

“It’s really shifted me into a different sphere. Writing it has changed me.”

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The journalist and broadcaster, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, has appeared on several BBC TV and radio programmes, including Watchdog, BBC Young Dancer and Who Do You Think You Are?

She has appeared as a co-presenter on the BBC’s Countryfile since 2015.

Despite leading a busy life, she admitted that although she sees her friendships as “vital”, she has traditionally “not been very good at opening up to girlfriends” and would keep her feelings to herself.

However, she added: “But the pandemic has given us all permission to say: ‘I’m not OK’.

“Before, we were all on autopilot; even if we were having the worst day, we’d say things were great because we bought into this idea that it’s all about productivity.

“Whereas now we’re all having these really honest conversations; we’re able to share when we’re stressed or worrying about our parents.”

Read the full interview in the November issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale now.

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