Zoe Ball has been confirmed to replace Chris Evans as the host of Radio 2’s breakfast show.
It means that Ball will be the first ever female host, after Evans announced his departure from the show last month, after 13 years in the chair.
Announcing the news, she said: “I’m not underestimating the task ahead of me,” before adding that she ‘definitely didn’t expect to get the call’ from the show’s bosses.
She went on to say that she was feeling ‘a crazy mix of elation, wanting to burst into tears, wanting to run away’, but was ‘mainly thrilled’ with the news.
In a statement, she said: “To be the first woman to present this very special show is both an honour and privilege.
“Believe me, I’m not underestimating the enormity of the task ahead, to follow not one but two of my broadcasting idols, into such a well-loved show is somewhat daunting.
“I hope, in the same way that Chris made this show his own after taking over from the wonderful Sir Terry Wogan, that with a top team alongside me, I can bring the fabulous Radio 2 audience a show they want to wake up to.”
Radio 2 boss, Lewis Carnie, said: “I’m delighted that Zoe is the new host of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show as she’s a hugely talented and much loved presenter who brings over 25 years’ broadcasting experience to the network. She’s already built a loyal audience via her Saturday afternoon show, and I know she’ll be a huge hit with the listeners.”
She will start her new job in January.
The Radio 2 Breakfast Show is the most-listened to in the UK, drawing a weekly audience of over nine million people.
Ball was also the first woman ever to host the Radio 1 Breakfast Show, when she took it over from Mark and Lard in 1997.
A new host for her Saturday afternoon Radio 2 show will be announced soon.
Evans announced his exit at the beginning of September, and will move to Virgin Radio.
The BBC’s director general Tony Hall said that Evans’ salary, which was published last year, was ‘a factor’ in his leaving.
“We have to recognise we’re not going to attract people at the kind of mega sums others in the commercial sphere might be able to pay,” he said.
Evans earned £1.6 million to host the breakfast show last year, with Ball being paid between £250,000 and £299,000 for her work for the BBC, which also includes Strictly Come Dancing spin-off show Strictly: It Takes Two.