Mr West confirmed to The Belfast Telegraph today that he officially left the BBC two weeks ago, on January 20.

While he wouldn’t go in to the reasons behind his departure, the journalist said he was now exploring different opportunities within media.

“I can’t say at this point in what way but I have left,” he said.

A BBC spokesperson yesterday said: “We do not routinely comment on individual staff matters.”

Mr West also revealed he’s pursuing a separate venture writing and illustrating children’s books under the pen name, Oliver John Bedtime Stories.

“I’ve been writing for friends and nephews and nieces for a while and people are starting to ask me to do it more. Since I now have more freedom I thought I might as well try and reach a broader audience,” he said.

“The first book I wrote was three years ago for my nephew. I thought it was a nice thing to do for someone.

“I find it quite enjoyable to write for children and I’m quite good at art so I thought I would illustrate it as well. I never really had time but for now I do.”