Roman Kemp on leaving Capital show: ‘It’s been sad…but it’s the right thing’

Radio and TV presenter Roman Kemp has said leaving his Capital Breakfast show was “sad” but added that was the “right thing”.

The 31-year-old, who is the son of Spandau Ballet bass player Martin Kemp and Wham singer Shirlie Kemp, announced in February that he was stepping down from the radio show, 10 years after presenting his first programme for the station.

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

He told Auto Trader’s Show On The Road podcast: “What led me to leave Capital? ..Sleep.”

The TV and radio star, who has presented on the One Show since 2022 and came third in the 2019 edition of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, explained: “I didn’t really know that I had sleep apnoea until recently.

“And then I did these tests and the way the doctor described it to me was, I was running a half marathon in my sleep and not resting.

“Because the oxygen intake that I get in my sleep is like 20% of what you would get. I think leaving Capital for me was a mixture of things.

“I’m tired. I need to look after myself a little bit.

“I was trying to spin two careers at once. One is telly and the other is radio. But, on the other hand, there have been days where I’ve felt my lowest, and the radio is the thing that has kept me going.

“I’ve gone through things on air that no one should ever have to go through. You know, so it’s been sad leaving Capital, but I think it’s the right thing.”

He also spoke about the loss of his friend and Capital FM producer, Joe Lyons, in August 2020 and said it felt “so strange” without him.

Roman Kemp in a Soccer Aid football top
Kemp also opened up about sleep issues, which have forced him to step down from Capital FM (Nigel French/PA)

Kemp said: ““When you lose someone to suicide, it’s so strange. You know, Joe was the first person I met when I arrived at Capital.

“My best friend, my producer, and beyond a work colleague, he’s like my boyfriend.

“We were together nonstop. I had girlfriends that would say Joe was more like the partner in the relationship.

“And here’s someone that you’ve spent all that time with, seemingly living a different life, to the one that you were told, right in front of you.”

Kemp said he was on air when “it was all unfolding” and added that the first thing he did when he found out was to call his mum.

He recalled: “When I found out he had died, I remember calling my mum and I remember hearing my mum just scream, and say ‘what happened?’ And I just said, ‘I don’t know some accident’.

“Because weirdly me, my mum, him and my dad had all been for dinner and two nights before, but then at around 11am I found out that it was suicide and everything changed.

“So I guess now four years on, I’m sad. I’m so sad. And I’m so sorry that I didn’t push.

“And there’s people out there that will say to me all the time, it’s not your fault.

“Or they’ll say there’s nothing you could have done, but I’m here to tell you there was.

“If I had a hint, I would have been there. I live two minutes away.

“The scary thing is that the person that I love and the person that I hold so close to my heart is ending their life on purpose.

“I’m on the other side of this now.

“And let me tell you, like, if you’re worried about your mate, speak to him because it is not nice on this side of it.”

He has spoken candidly about his mental health struggles since Lyons’ death, including making a documentary about mental health and suicide in young men.

During BBC Three documentary, Roman Kemp: Our Silent Emergency, which aired in in 2021, he looked at the mental health crisis affecting young men and said he had considered taking his own life after suffering with depression for more than a decade.

He went on to tell the podcast that he would one day “love” to work in football, describing it as “a massive part of my life”.

He said: “It’s who I am.

“There’s nothing like the energy of being in a football stadium where you all are wanting the same thing.”