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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Katherine Heslop

BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce says he's been forced out early as he's replaced by Vernon Kay

Ken Bruce has devastated fans by announcing his last BBC Radio 2 show will air next Friday, rather than the end of March.

In a statement on Twitter, the broadcaster said: "I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday. I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let’s enjoy the week ahead!"

Ken, 71, announced his decision to leave the radio station in January and it was soon revealed he was joining Greatest Hits Radio.

Today it was confirmed that Ken will be replaced by Vernon Kay.

Ken Bruce says he's leaving his Radio 2 show earlier than planned (Getty Images)

In response to Ken's statement today, the BBC said: "Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it’s always been known he’s leaving in March. Returning to Wogan House for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale provided a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future."

Of his new venture, Vernon said: "I’m absolutely over the moon to be handed the microphone to present the mid-morning show on Radio 2, and what an honour to follow in the footsteps of the mighty Ken Bruce.

"I look forward to playing some of the best music in the world whilst in the company of the Radio 2 listeners who I feel I’ve got to know over the last 18 months.

Vernon Kay is to replace Ken Bruce (PA)

"It’s a dream come true to join the Radio 2 family and I can’t wait to start."

BBC Radio 2 has seen a series of stars leaving the radio channel in the last two years including Paul O'Grady, Steve Wright, Craig Charles, Simon Mayo and Vanessa Feltz.

Ken is moving to Greatest Hits Radio (PA)

Ken's departure was announced on his radio show in January as the BBC later tweeted: "We have some news… After 31 years of presenting the 9:30am-midday weekday show Ken Bruce has decided to leave.

"We’re going to miss you lots Ken and want to congratulate you on a fantastic career at the BBC."

In a statement afterwards, Ken said it was "time for a change".

He wrote: "After 45 years of broadcasting on BBC Radio it's time for a change.

"I would stress that this is entirely my decision. I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2".

Vernon, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly, is no stranger to working for BBC radio.

He hosted his own BBC Radio 1 show between 2004 and 2012 and presented his own show on Radio X between 2015 and 2017.

The BBC's Eurovision Song Contest's commentator Graham Norton kicked off the exodus of stars moving on from Radio 2 in 2020, when the presenter quit his weekend slot at the station.

Vanessa Feltz is just one of the presenters who has left Radio 2 in the last few years (REX)

The Drag Race UK judge began presenting his Saturday morning show in 2010, following Jonathan Ross' BBC exit, but after 10 years on-air he walked away from the gig.

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