BBC Radio Leeds presenter hits out at treatment as Larry and Paul show faces axe

Paul Dunphy - one half of comedy duo Larry and Paul - has hit out at his treatment by the BBC after his show came to an apparent end without warning.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:24 pm

The pair have hosted the Larry and Paul show on Radio Leeds since moving from Radio Aire in 2012, but the show was paused when Covid hit.

Paul spoke out after he was sent an automated message telling him his staff email was to be closed and his BBC pass cancelled without warning.

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Larry Budd and Paul Dunphy have set up their own company called Northern Imposters.

The BBC said no decision had been made on the show's future but Paul said he did not think the show would be returning.

Paul said he and co-presenter Larry Budd were "part of the furniture" but were never given permanent contracts.

He tweeted this morning (Tuesday): "Eight years spent working on BBC local radio. Covid strikes and I lose my show (after being told that it most likely would come back once things return to normal). Today I find out my e-mail is to be shut off and my pass stripped of access.

"Eight years and not even a phone call. Sad.

"I’m not writing this for sympathy (out of necessity I adapted at the start of the pandemic, so I’m OK), it’s just a lamentable end to such a large portion of my life and a sad indictment of how freelancers are treated.

"What would have happened if I couldn’t adapt? Would they care?"

Paul told the YEP he felt the pandemic had presented the BBC with the opportunity to make cuts due to local radio budgets being under huge pressure, with double-presenter shows being an obvious target.

He added: "As far as I'm aware, we were told that our show would be coming back when things return to normal.

"But that was the last I heard and that was a year ago

"Then I got an automated email saying your IT accounts are going to be essentially, deleted, and I've also been taken off the staff email - so I assume that's the ignominious end of my career in local radio, which I'm not gutted about, but it's just sad it had to end that way.

"I haven't heard anything from them for a year, which is poor form.

"No one's checked up on me, I could be in a horrible state but luckily I've been able to adapt."

He added: "I'm lucky that at the start of lockdown I was able to adapt and find other methods of working but I feel for other freelance presenters who weren't able to do that, I wonder what's becoming of them and I think it's a bit of a shame."

Larry and Paul's star has risen in the past few years, with the pair setting up their own production company Northern Imposters in 2020.

Some of their best known work includes the Royal Television Society Yorkshire award-winning Newsreader Nightmare and Every Political Debate Ever.

Their #RealDailyBriefing series on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube has more than 20 million views.

The pair have been continuing writing scripted comedy and sketches and are planning on producing longer-form work.

They also still stream a weekly live show on Youtube and the pair are hoping to benefit from Channel 4's move to Leeds.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We don’t recognise the situation described here. No decision has been taken on the future of Paul’s programme.

"We simplified our schedules at the start of the pandemic to keep our staff safe and to protect our core programming at a time when our audiences needed news and information more than ever.”

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