Cartoon Sean Coyle back on BBC TV next week

Sean Coyle model
Sean Coyle model

Sean Coyle has not ruled out a return to the BBC but admits he has been left hurt and upset by the decision to take him off the air.

An online petition calling for the 72-year-old Radio Ulster presenter to be reinstated has amassed more than 5,000 signatures.

Sean Coyle with the late Gerry Anderson.

Sean Coyle with the late Gerry Anderson.

It comes as an animated series featuring Mr Coyle alongside the late Gerry Anderson is to be re-run on BBC NI.

In his first interview since leaving the BBC, Mr Coyle told the Belfast Telegraph how he got angry and refused to accept the alternative package they offered him, prompting him to leave after more than three decades on the air.

However he did not rule out a return some time in the future.

Recalling the lead-up to his departure, Sean said: “I got a text message from one of the bosses saying that they would like to meet me on Monday to discuss the future.

“I should have heard the warning bells ringing because they wanted to see me not in Radio Foyle, but in a nearby cafe.

“We met that Monday and they just told me that, as part of the rescheduling, they were taking the programme off and they had nothing else to offer me, basically.”

Reacting to the public outcry over the decision to axe the Sean Coyle show, a BBC Northern Ireland spokesperson said: “We acknowledge the concerns that many listeners have expressed about planned schedule changes affecting Sean Coyle’s weekday slot on BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle.

“We are appreciative of Sean’s contribution to the BBC and hope that he might continue to feature within other parts of our output.

“Changes to long-running programmes are always difficult. They happen rarely and involve a careful balancing of different considerations.

“We remain committed to providing our radio audiences with a service that is distinctive and diverse and which combines new and more established BBC voices.”

Meanwhile, the popular series in which Mr Coyle appears in animated form alongside the late Gerry Anderson is to be re-run.

On The Air returns on September 2 on BBC One NI at 10.35pm and all 29 episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer from September 6.

The animated series offers TV audiences the chance to relive the real, the surreal and the outrageous conversations that were an integral part of Mr

Anderson’s daily BBC Radio Ulster/Foyle show, using stop-motion claymation, CGI and animation.

Originally made by Belfast-based animation company, Flickerpix, the series tackled a myriad of surreal scenarios in each five-minute short film which features Mr Anderson and Mr Coyle along with a host of interesting callers to their show.