13:37 16 September 2009
Peter Jefferson, the infamous 'voice of Radio 4' accidentally blurted out a naughty word during a promo spot after fluffing his lines last month. He has since been let go by the BBC
The 64-year-old who found almost cult fame for his readings of the shipping forecast was told that the decision to sever his services had nothing to do with his bad language or his age. BBC bosses cited operational changes as the reason for expiring his contract.
The corporation received only two complaints after Mr Jefferson turned the airwaves blue during the 8pm 'pips', whereas Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's antics racked up thousands. He had been employed for nearly 45 years.
Mr Jefferson took early retirement in 2001 but has continued to work for the BBC on freelance terms ever since. His last shift will be on Sept 20.
Mr Jefferson joined the BBC in 1964, working first as a librarian, before making his big break as an announcer on the World Service, the Home Service and the Light Programme.
Jefferson had been at Radio 4 since 1974, where he worked as a continuity announcer. The radio icon also lent his vocal talents to 'Quote Unquote' and 'Poetry Please'. Apparently he will continue to broadcast on these shows.
A BBC spokesman said: We have a hugely experienced team of continuity announcers and newsreaders who add much to the quality of Radio 4 and Peter has been very much a part of the fabric of the network for many years.
"We are extremely grateful to him for his contribution throughout that time both as a member of staff and as a freelancer. However it is important that we look forward and it is in the light of these future considerations that we have decided to make some space on our freelance rota to provide more opportunities to newcomers.
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