Giles Coren steps down as Front Row TV presenter after one series

He joked the arts and theatre world ‘will be wearing black armbands'.

Journalist and restaurant critic Giles Coren has stepped down as presenter of the BBC’s Front Row after just one series.

The Times writer faced heavy criticism following his appointment to the show’s television version last year when he said he had not been to the theatre much in the past six years.

Announcing the news on Thursday, Coren joked the arts and theatre world “will be wearing black armbands” as he said a busy schedule meant he would not be returning to the show.

He said it had been a “pleasure and a privilege”.

Broadcaster Libby Purves was among those who hit out at his appointment after she accused the BBC of ignoring theatre unless celebrities are involved.

He had been joined on the show by radio presenter Nikki Bedi and the BBC’s media editor Amol Rajan.

Coren wrote on Twitter: “The arts (and especially theatre) world will be wearing black armbands today, as they learn that a bursting diary has forced me, very regretfully, to stand down from presenting the next series of Front Row on BBC2.

“It was a pleasure and a privilege. The new series will be GREAT!”

Radio 4’s flagship culture programme Front Row launched on BBC Two in September for a seven-week run on Saturday evenings.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “Due to other commitments Giles won’t be joining us to present the next series of Front Row, we wish him the best and will announce information about the new series in due course.”

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