Roman Kemp says he left radio show to stop reliving tragedy of friend’s death


Roman Kemp has opened up about his decision to leave his Capital breakfast radio show, saying being in the studio was like reliving the “horrible” moment of discovering his friend’s death “over and over” again.

Kemp’s best friend and producer Joe Lyons died in August 2020, and the star learned of his death while he was at work.

He went on to make a documentary about mental health and suicide in young men the following year.

In February, the 31-year-old announced he was stepping down from his breakfast show role, 10 years after presenting his first programme for Capital, and hosted his final show last week.

“It’s not normal, imagine a tragedy happened in your house, you’re going to want to move,” Kemp has now said in a new interview with the Mirror newspaper.

“The bosses at Capital know this and I said it, it’s difficult, I went through such a horrible moment in that room, in that studio – four years on and I’ve been living that same day over and over again, without the awful event.

“For me, I’m quite ready to go, ‘okay, close that door now, don’t keep going back living that horrible day over again’. That’s sad that it obviously affects me but it does. Every day I walk in there and I see Joe – that’s a weird thing to do.

“I think it’s going to be really good for me to move on with my life. I had an opportunity in my life, I can go and enjoy my life for a bit and I want to enjoy what I have achieved.”

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Kemp joined Capital in 2014, when it was still a London-only station, before hosting The Capital Evening Show in 2016. He moved to Breakfast in 2017 before the show launched nationwide in 2019.

The presenter, who is the son of Spandau Ballet star Martin Kemp and Wham singer Shirlie Kemp, joined the BBC’s The One Show in 2023 and co-hosted the Brit Awards alongside Maya Jama and Clara Amfo in February.

BBC Radio 1 star Jordan North takes over his Capital show.

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Kemp wiped away tears as he addressed Lyons’ death on air in 2020, telling listeners that his friend was “kind, caring, loved dogs… he was playful, he was silly and that is how we are going to remember him and that is how we would like you to remember him”.

He added: “He’s my absolute brother and I never thought I would have to be doing this on the radio.”

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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