Radio 4 newsreader Kathy Clugston has been unveiled as the new chairwoman of Gardeners’ Question Time – in a move she joked was “odd”.
She will replace Eric Robson, 72, who is retiring from the long-running BBC programme, which first aired in 1947.
Clugston, 49, is known for her work as a newsreader and continuity announcer on Radio 4 and as the voice of the Shipping Forecast.
An amateur gardener, she said she will not shy away from asking panellists to spell out the basics.
Clugston joked on Twitter that an “odd thing has happened” when her role was announced.
And the broadcaster, who has anosmia, meaning she has no sense of smell, said in a statement: “I have had a few pinch-me moments since I started at Radio 4 – my first Shipping Forecast, reading the news on the Today programme – but this beats them all.
“I’ve listened to Gardeners’ Question Time for years but never did I imagine I’d be stepping into the shoes of the great Eric Robson. It is one of the pillars of Radio 4. I feel honoured and excited.”
The Belfast-born newsreader, who will be the show’s first female host, added: “One of my jobs as host will be to make new listeners feel welcome. I’m a novice and won’t be shy about asking the panellists to spell things out if they get too technical.”
Robson said it felt the “appropriate time” to move on after 25 years, saying: “I’ve loved every minute of it, but I’m also delighted to be handing the trowel on to Kathy, someone I know will fit right in to the Gardeners’ Question Time family.”
Clugston’s first programme will air on May 3.
Robson’s departure will be marked by a special programme broadcast from Manchester on April 26.
Peter Gibbs, the show’s co-chairman, will remain in his role.