How BBC Radio 2 has transformed in its bid to attract new listeners
The station is on a mission to shake up its listening audience
BBC Radio 2 has been undergoing somewhat of a facelift over the last few years.
Within the space of three years, Radio 2 has seen many of its long-standing stars quit the show and move on – often being replaced quickly with those already in place, and within the space of a week.
Read more: Ken Bruce fans devastated as he quits BBC Radio 2: 'This is too much'
With Ken Bruce being the latest major casualty in what's been a major cull for the radio station, here are all the major changes the radio station has undergone since 2019, and the reactions surrounding it.
BBC Radio 2 – Which presenters have quit and who's replaced them?
OUT: Graham Norton
In November 2020, Graham Norton marked the start of huge changes when he quit his radio show after 10 years.
He emotionally said: "It has also a privilege to be part of your mornings."
Read more: Eurovision 2023: Alesha Dixon and Hannah Waddingham among new hosts
Norton moved to Virgin Radio, but remains with the BBC for his chat show, Eurovision and Drag Race.
IN: Claudia Winkleman
Claudia Winkleman replaced Norton in his Saturday slot.
"Just the thought of going live on a Saturday morning makes me want to wear a nappy," she said ahead of her Feburary 2021 debut. "Because I’m following an absolute legend!"
Read more: The Traitors viewers praise 'the best TV show I have ever seen' after dramatic finale
She remains there to this day, with Stacey Dooley temporarily stepping in on occasion.
OUT: Simon Mayo
In a bid to add diversity to the daytime roster, long-time Drivetime host Simon Mayo was paired with Jo Whiley for his late-afternoon slot in 2018. He quit Radio 2 six months later, admitting he thought he'd there til he retired: “They thought it would be an improvement and make the network more contemporary. They made a mistake.”
OUT: Vanessa Feltz
Vaneesa Feltz quit BBC Radio after 22 years in July 2022, 11 of which was spent doing Radio 2's Early Breakfast Show.
Read more: Vanessa Feltz 'healing' from split on family holiday in Ireland
Feltz said she "loved every moment" but had to step down "to catch up on a much needed decade's deficit of beauty sleep".
Owain Wyn Evans was recently named as her permanent replacement.
IN: Zoe Ball
Zoe Ball replaced Chris Evans on the station's flagship morning show in 2019, becoming the first woman to host the legendary slot.
"I am a crazy mix of elation, wanting to burst into tears, thinking about running away, everything. But mainly thrilled," she told Evans when they announced the news.
OUT: Paul O'Grady
After 14 years, Paul O'Grady quit his Sunday afternoon slot in August 2022, saying "now was the time to go".
He's since been critical of the schedule changes that have followed.
"Radio 2 has changed, it's not what it was," he told Metro. "They're trying to aim for a much younger audience, which doesn't make sense because you've got Radio 1."
IN: Rob Beckett
Initially sharing the schedule with O'Grady in a 13 weeks on/13 weeks off deal, Beckett then became permanent.
O'Grady later acknowledged he didn't like sharing the slot with Beckett, saying: "I did the honourable thing, I honoured my contract, gave my notice in and now I’m off," O'Grady told his Instagram followers.
OUT: Steve Wright
In September 2022, Steve Wright hosted his last afternoon show after 23 years.
After leaving, Wright said he "wasn't retiring" and said: “I know I have been extremely lucky to do this work and have never taken it for granted."
IN: Scott Mills
After 24 years on BBC Radio 1, Scott Mills made the move over to replace Wright on Radio 2 at the end of 2022.
Read more: Scott Mills in 'world of pain' as he does 24-hour Children In Need treadmill challenge
Speaking to Kate Thornton on White Wine Question Time, Mills admitted there were some things he could do on Radio 1 that he "would never do on Radio 2".
OUT: Ken Bruce
Ken Bruce became the latest casualty of BBC Radio 2 when he announced in February 2023 he was leaving after 31 years hosting his mid-morning show, taking Popmaster with him.
His exit was then sped up by execs, with his last show being a month early. The move was condemned by stars including Rylan and O'Grady, who said he "WAS Radio 2".
IN: Vernon Kay
Vernon Kay was announced as Bruce's replacement and the decision has been praised by fans who think he's a good fit for Radio 2.
Read more: Vernon Kay says ‘Strictly’ is ‘like a third baby’ for him and Tess Daly
Kay has since said: "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."
WATCH: Vernon Kay set to replace Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2