The Queen has sent her ‘best wishes’ to mark the 75th year of the BBC’s Woman’s Hour – before thanking the show for its ‘important work’ as an ‘advocate to women everywhere.’
In a special recorded message, Her Majesty, 94, said: ‘As you celebrate your 75th year, it is with great pleasure that I send my best wishes to the listeners and all those associated with Woman’s Hour.
During this time, you have witnessed and played a significant part in the evolving role of women across society, both here and around the world.
In this notable anniversary year, I wish you continued success in your important work as a friend, guide and advocate to women everywhere.’
The Queen has recorded a special message to mark the 75th year of the BBC’s Woman’s Hour. Pictured, Her Majesty records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle
Emma Barnett (pictured), 35, has taken over the Radio 4 staple, which has aired since 1946
Imelda Staunton, who is set to play the Queen in the new series of The Crown, also appeared on the show alongside Spice Girl, Mel C.
When new host Emma Barnett, 35, asked whether she sees Her Majesty as a feminist icon, Imelda replied: ‘The Queen, I think she might be an original Spice Girl because girl power is what she became – the head of our state.
‘It’s the continuity of the Queen which has been so important in the last 60 years. She’s always been there. Because our society is like chuck that away, move on, move on, to have something, whether you’re a royalist or not, this person has got up and gone to work every day for 60 years and I admire that.’
All of the actresses, Olivia Colman and Claire Foy, say they don’t know if they could’ve done that day in day out – turning up and doing her duty. I feel that’s the aspect most important about her – it’s her ability to be there and be solid for everyone at all times.’
Speaking of how she has rehearsed for her upcoming role as the monarch, Imelda joked: ‘I was out in the garden with the dog and Jim came out and was like: “What are you doing?”
I said: “Did you hear me?” I was like a mad person wandering around just wittering on. I don’t even realise I’m doing it.’
Imelda Staunton (pictured), who is set to play the Queen in the new series of The Crown, also appeared on the show alongside Spice Girl, Mel C
Emma Barnett, 35, has taken take over the Radio 4 staple, which has aired since 1946 – and won rave reviews (pictured)
Imelda went on to reveal she met the Queen at a theatre in 1986, and was also an awarded an OBE by the monarch herself.
‘I also sang at her 90th birthday,’ she added. ‘There was Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue…and who?! The whole show was in the ring where they have horses in so I sang a song while Shetland ponies were doing a grand national in front of me!’
The actress also admitted she feels responsibility to get the role right.
‘I think my extra challenge, as if I need it, is that I’m doing the Queen we’re all more familiar with.’
‘With Claire Foy it was almost history, 40s or 50s. I feel like I’m playing one where people can be like: “Well she’s not like that.” The episode airs just days after Jane Garvey signed off her final Woman’s Hour broadcast after 13 years – declaring that the ‘show needs to move on and now it can’.
Emma has taken take over the Radio 4 staple, which has aired since 1946 – and won rave reviews.
‘Great job,’ wrote one, while a second penned: ‘Brilliant to hear you presenting this!’
A third added: ‘Lovely touch from the Queen. Welcome Emma Barnett…All good wishes, health, happiness & blessings to women everywhere, for the coming year #2021.’
After 13 years, broadcaster Jane Garvey (pictured) presented her final instalment of Woman’s Hour on New Year’s Eve
Jane, 56, told listeners: ‘During the course of these cataclysmic years on Woman’s Hour, I’ve learnt that actually, for all sorts of reasons, women have to be that bit better, we have to try harder (than men), it’s going to be a bit tougher for us.’
Dame Jenni Murray, 70, has also left the programme.
Jane said: ‘It’s not just a radio programme. It’s one of “the” radio programmes and I’ve had a chance to do it. The programme needs to move on and now it can.’
Last month she said it was in danger of focusing on topics such as the transgender debate at the expense of issues that mean most to listeners.
The radio host also said she did not think the audience believed the subject was the ‘most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about’.
When she was asked by a listener whether it was time to have more interviews with transgender and gender-fluid people on the programme, she replied: ‘Well, in answer to that, over the last couple of years I have interviewed more trans-women than trans-men on Woman’s Hour.
‘So that tells you something and people need maybe to think a little bit about that.’
She added: ‘I have also been called anti-trans and anti-women. I’ve been called too feminist. I’ve been called not feminist enough.’
‘It is genuinely a very, very, difficult area. We are never going to please everybody listening when we talk about it.
‘I’d also have to say from a purely practical perspective, is this the issue that vexes our audience more than any other?
‘Do they think of it as the most controversial or the most important thing we could be talking about? No! I honestly don’t think they do.’