She is a popular BBC One Countryfile presenter and has presented numerous BBC documentaries including Bollywood: The World’s Biggest Film Industry, My Family, Partition and Me: India 1947 and War on Plastic with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The BBC has pledged to put more BAME presenters on the air. An Ofcom report released in November found that people from ethnic minorities were under-represented on the radio.
A BBC source said that Rani’s background and her broad TV appeal could help attract new listeners to Radio 4. “The public knows her from Countryfile, from Strictly, different places where maybe people don’t. ‘currently not listening to Woman’s Hour,’ the source said.
Rani will present her first show this Friday. She said, “I have been a long-time fan of Woman’s Hour and admire the presenters who have hosted the show before, so I look forward to being a part of it myself as a second presenter, alongside the brilliant Emma Barnett.
“I can’t wait to get to know the listeners and discuss the issues that matter most to them. Women’s Hour has always given a voice to people who may not be heard elsewhere and I wish to continue this important tradition. What an honor and what a way to start the weekend.
Rani has previously said that being a woman, an Asian and a Northerner is a “triple whammy” that sets her apart from many people in the broadcasting industry.
The presenter said the TV executives gleefully gifted her with a Bollywood documentary but were less excited when she suggested a Hollywood follow-up.
“The question that came up was, ‘Why you, Anita? We can understand why you would do a Bollywood program. But Hollywood? What does that have to do with you?
“You would never have thought of asking a number of chic white men on TV, ‘Why did you get the opportunity to present shows about train travel in India?'”