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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nadeem Badshah

Ken Bruce says BBC has hastened his Radio 2 exit

Ken Bruce in a BBC Radio 2 studio
Ken Bruce in a BBC Radio 2 studio Photograph: Mike Lawn/Rex/Shutterstock

Ken Bruce has suggested he has been forced to leave the BBC earlier than he intended with his final Radio 2 show scheduled for next week rather than at the end of March.

The 71-year-old Scottish broadcasting veteran will present his final 9.30am-to-midday show on 3 March.

He wrote on Twitter: “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!”

Vernon Kay, 48, is returning to the BBC to replace Bruce on the coveted mid-morning weekday show, the broadcaster announced earlier on Friday.

Bruce announced last month he would be stepping down from presenting on Radio 2 after 31 years.

The BBC confirmed Gary Davies, host of the station’s Sounds of the 80s, would present the mid-morning show from 6 March until Kay joined on a yet to be confirmed date in May.

A BBC spokesperson said: “Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it’s always been known he’s leaving in March.

“Returning to [BBC Two’s base at] 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.”

Bruce is joining Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.

He has hosted the current incarnation of his show since 1992, and prior to that had worked at the broadcaster since 1978.

There has been widespread criticism of Radio 2’s recent effort to rejuvenate its lineup.

Longstanding DJs Paul O’Grady, Vanessa Feltz, Craig Charles and Simon Mayo have all left or announced their departures in recent months. Their replacements – such as Rylan Clark and Michelle Visage – are all younger, leading to ageism complaints from listeners.

Steve Wright also left his weekday afternoon show last year, replaced by former Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, but still hosts Sunday Love Songs and occasional specials.

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