Radio entertainment and showbiz

End of an era as Ken Bruce bows out from BBC Radio 2

Ken Bruce fans were all ears today to hear what he had to say presenting his final Radio 2 show earlier.

After Zoe Ball handed over to him and they said their goodbyes, Ken began by telling listeners: “Lots of lovely music on this programme, don’t go looking for any secret messages or hidden agendas either, there are just good songs.”

Was that a message to reassure bosses that he wouldn’t say anything they didn’t want him to, or was he just telling listeners that it’s business as usual on his last day?

The show continued as normal with Ken also reading out messages from well wishers who are sad to see him leave the station.

As the show came to an end, Ken thanked all those who have worked on it and the listeners, including those who had sent him messages of congratulations or good riddance!

He also said that the BBC is still the finest broadcasting organisation in the world, then began his sign off saying: “I thought about the song to finish and one that comes to an end, I thought might be the end.”

This was followed by Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End by The Beatles,  then he said: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make, and I’ve loved being here with you, thank you so much, and may we meet again, somewhere.”

There’s been criticism of Radio 2 after bosses decided that Ken should leave earlier than he expected. Speaking about his departure on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ken said: “It’s entirely within the BBC’s right to ask me to step away a little early.

“But for the sake of 17 days, which was all that was remaining (on my contract), it seems a shame.”

Ken will be joining his former Radio 2 colleague Simon Mayo on Greatest Hits Radio to host mid-mornings from 3 April.

Although still a supporter of the BBC, appearing on Roger Bolton’s Beeb Watch podcast recently, Mayo said he thought that Ken’s leaving had been handled badly.

“I think what’s surprising is that it lingered as long as it did,” Mayo said. “If you’re on social media, the Greatest Hits Radio Twitter icon is Ken Bruce.

“Ken is an advert for Greatest Hits Radio now so I can understand why they might have thought we need to hasten these things.

“It’s unfortunate because it does feel messy and that is unfortunate. I can imagine in commercial radio he might have been out the door sooner,” he added.

Mayo also left Radio 2 in 2018 after 31 years at the BBC because he wasn’t happy, after bosses decided to add Jo Whiley to co-host his Drivetime show.

In an interview with the Daily Mail’s Event Magazine in 2019 he said that he wasn’t told face to face about the changes. He told the magazine: “Things had changed. It felt different. It felt like it was probably time to go.”

With Ken Bruce joining former Radio 2 presenters Simon Mayo, Richard Allinson, Mark Goodier and Alex Lester on Greatest Hits Radio, will he be the last one to move across? There have been rumours of course, but time will tell!


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