Vernon Kay breaks down in tears while talking about joining BBC Radio 2 – as Ken Bruce hosts his last ever Monday show after revealing bosses forced him out a month early

  • Vernon Kay to take over veteran DJ Ken Bruce’s mid-morning weekday show 
  • Comes amid backlash by loyal Ken Bruce listeners who blasted BBC for decision  

Vernon Kay broke down in tears while talking about joining BBC Radio 2, after announcing he will replace veteran broadcaster Ken Bruce on his mid-morning weekday show.

The TV presenter, 48, will take over in May after Bruce’s final 9.30am to 12pm show on March 3 after 31 years.

Appearing on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, Kay said: ‘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.

‘Whatever channel you choose to listen to, whoever is on mid-mornings, it’s the Ken Bruce slot. He has made it his own and he is an absolute legend of broadcasting.

Vernon Kay said the support he had received since the annoucement was ‘amazing’ and had made him feel ‘quite emotional’

Veteran DJ Ken Bruce (pictured) is to step down from his popular BBC Radio 2 show and will be succeeded by Vernon Kay

Announcing the news, Kay he was ‘absolutely over the moon to be handed the microphone’ and ‘follow in the footsteps of the mighty Ken Bruce’

‘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.’

Kay was moved to tears when reflecting on all the support he has received since he was announced as the new host.

It comes amid a backlash from loyal Ken Bruce listeners who lashed out at the BBC over the treatment of the veteran Radio 2 presenter.

Ken Bruce (pictured with his good friend Rod Stewart) is leaving the BBC after 45 years, quitting Radio 2 for Greatest Hits Radio

Bruce, 72, issued a short statement on Friday revealing he intended to work right up until the end of his contract at the end of March, but his final show will now be next Friday

Twitter users said the treatment of the broadcaster was ‘classless’ and showed the BBC’s ageist agenda 

Fans slammed the broadcaster’s treatment of the radio presenter online, with some saying it showed ‘everything that’s wrong with the BBC’. 

Others said the corporation had ‘no respect’ for the listeners and that Radio 2 were ‘shooting themselves in the foot’. 

But appearing to shake off the backlash, Kay continued: ‘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.’

Kay also recalled the moment he told his parents about taking over from Bruce.

He said: ‘First thing my dad said in the background… my mum always picks up, so in the background my dad went, ‘Big boots them, son’.

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

Kay, who is celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary to Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly this year, is known for fronting various shows on Channel 4’s T4 as well as ITV programmes including All Star Family Fortunes, Just The Two Of Us, and Beat The Star.

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

He is a familiar face on Radio 2, having previously filled in for presenters including Zoe Ball, Steve Wright, Rylan Clark and Dermot O’Leary.

Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo

The BBC previously said Gary Davies, host of the station’s Sounds Of The 80s, will present the mid-morning show from March 6 until Kay takes over the helm in May on a date yet to be announced.


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The DJ will usher in Radio 2’s new weekday pop quiz to replace Bruce’s popular PopMaster format, as well as continuing his own radio show, which he has fronted since 2018.

It comes after 72-year-old Bruce announced he was leaving the BBC in January before saying he will be moving to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.

The radio host, who started at the BBC in his early 30s, said he will ‘always be proud’ of his association with the BBC and Radio 2 but wants to continue his career ‘in a slightly different way in the next few years’.

Presenter Vernon Kay will take over from Ken Bruce on the mid-morning slot in May. The veteran broadcaster’s last show will be on March 3

On Friday, Bruce tweeted: ‘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!’

READ MORE: From male model and T4 to Radio 2: As Vernon Kay takes on radio slot, how he rose from Saturday morning TV to showbiz power couple with Strictly wife Tess Daly – despite Rhian Sugden sexting shame

Bruce, who has fronted the popular PopMaster show for 31 years, only learned he would finish next week when he was called into a meeting at 12.30pm last Friday. 

Speaking to the Mail, Bruce said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the decision.

He said: ‘I was called in at 12.30 and told that my final show would be a week today and wasn’t given any real reason that I understood.

‘I’m a little surprised and disappointed.’

Friends say he had given a commitment not to say anything that could embarrass the BBC in the remaining weeks of his contract, making him all the more surprised by the decision to end his show earlier than expected.

An industry insider said that move by the BBC made the broadcaster look ‘very ungracious’ about Bruce’s ‘decades of service’.

They said: ‘It shows zero respect for Ken and what he has done for Radio 2.’

A BBC spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘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.’

Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: ‘Radio 2 is home to some of the UK’s best-loved presenters, and I’m thrilled to welcome Vernon to mid-mornings on Radio 2. 

‘He’s a hugely talented, warm and witty host who has already proved himself to be a firm favourite with our listeners when he’s presented many and varied shows across the station. I can’t wait to hear his brilliant new show.’ 

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