Vernon Kay breaks silence on Ken Bruce as Radio 2 veteran claims he’s been ‘forced out’
Vernon Kay has paid tribute to his predecessor Ken Bruce amid the veteran DJ’s claims that he’s been forced out of Radio 2.
Speaking to Zoe Ball on her Radio 2 show this morning, Kay, who was announced as Bruce’s replacement last week, said he has “big shoes he has to fill” when he takes over later this year.
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 a broadcaster.”
He continued: “I’m obviously over the moon but it’s the Ken Bruce show. The man has raised the bar so high.”
Kay went on to say that he’s received a lot of support from fans and Radio 2 staff since he was announced as the new host.
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 comments come as Bruce, who has been with the broadcaster for 45 years, said last week that he’s being forced to leave earlier than was originally planned.
His last show will air this Friday, rather than the end of March.
In a statement on Twitter, he wrote: “I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday (March, 3).
“I had intended to fulfil my contract until the end of March, but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let’s enjoy the week ahead!”
Fans responded with outrage to the tweet slamming BBC for the move, many calling it ageist and a mistake.
However, in a follow-up post, Bruce said it was in fact his decision to pack things in.
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.”
BBC Radio 2 has seen a series of big names leave the station over the past two years including Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Craig Charles, Simon Mayo and Vanessa Feltz.