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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Zoe Delaney

Vernon Kay issues statement on Ken Bruce as Radio 2 veteran claims he's been 'forced out

Vernon Kay enjoyed a telling chat with Zoe Ball on Radio 2 this morning, after being announced as Ken Bruce 's replacement last week.

The new Radio 2 DJ addressed the big shoes he has to fill when he takes over from Ken later this year, and admitted he was hesitant to take over the slot from such 'a legend' - amid major backlash from listeners upset at the latest schedule shake-up.

He went on to admit his parents, who are big fans of Ken's show, even jokingly piled on the pressure when it was announced he would be taking over from the veteran Radio 2 DJ.

Vernon's chat on the airwaves comes as his predecessor Ken says he's been forced to leave the station early, explaining last week will air this 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!"

Vernon Kay admitted he's got some 'big boots to fill' (BBC)
Ken Bruce is leaving Radio 2 at the end of this week (BBC/Ray Burmiston)

Speaking with Zoe on Radio 2 this morning, Vernon gushed how excited he was to be joining the station and paid tribute to Ken ahead of the replacing the broadcasting legend.

"What shoes to fill, Ken's last week has got us all in our feels," Zoe mused, as she spoke at length about Ken's glistening career.

"Ok, no pressure, crikey Zoe," Vernon joked.

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He went on to explain. "My dad is a lorry driver and I said this when I joined Radio 2 and started standing in for Steve Wright, so we’ve always had Radio 2 on in the background.

“It is part of us, it is in our DNA. Ken Bruce is mid-mornings. You don’t think of any other DJ when you think of that slot- he's made it his own. He's an absolute legend of broadcaster."

The star continued to say: "I'm obviously over the moon but it's the Ken Bruce show. The man has raised the bar so high."

Tess is 'over the moon' Vernon is joining the Radio 2 family (tessdaly / Instagram)

Vernon went on to get emotional as he reflected on all the support he has received since he was announced as the new host earlier this month.

He said: "One of the best things that has happened in the past few days is every single person on Radio 2 has messaged me and sent me an amazing either a voicemail, email, a Whatsapp … just saying how overjoyed that I’m joining the family… I’m getting quite emotional."

The dad-of-two continued to recall the moment he told his parent he would be taking over the reigns from Ken.

"First thing my dad said in the background… my mum always picks up, so in the background my dad went, ‘Big boots them, son'," Vernon recalled when chatting to Zoe.

"My mums like, ‘Norman, give over. Leave him alone. Well done, love’."

Vernon is the new host of the mid-morning show on BBC Radio 2, and will launch his new show in May. And this Spring, Radio 2 presents a stellar range of brilliant live music (including a Country extravaganza), world exclusive interviews and exciting new programming.

Speaking about his new gig last week, Vernon said: "To be asked to step into those big shoes it was a big deep breath, I’ll be honest with you. Obviously I am over the moon and so are my parents and Tess and the kids, but it’s the Ken Bruce show, and the man has raised the bar so high that I’m just so excited to be able to take the reins.

"I am absolutely over the moon, I really am."

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 says leaving the station was entirely his decision (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

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".

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