‘Discourteous and disrespectful’: Vanessa Feltz hits out at BBC over alleged handling of Ken Bruce exit

Vanessa Feltz has hit out at the BBC over its alleged handling of Ken Bruce’s departure from Radio 2.

Legendary broadcaster Bruce, who has been at the station since 1984, announced his departure from presenting the mid-morning show in January, with his last show due to take place at the end of March.

However, in February, Bruce said that he would actually be finishing on the show the following Friday (3 March), with the presenter claiming that “the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier”.

In a new interview, Feltz – who herself left the BBC last year after nearly 20 years – branded the alleged circumstances surrounding Bruce’s exit “bewildering”.

“After this incredibly long and amazingly distinguished career, to oust Ken Bruce two or three weeks before he was expecting to go and before his contract had actually played itself out, I thought that was incredibly discourteous and disrespectful and unnecessary,” she told Express.co.uk.

“What was the point of it? Why would you do that? Why would you leave yourselves open to criticism? Bad manners, lack of gratitude, lack of respect. It was an absolutely extraordinary decision and I think Ken must have been upset by it because he wouldn’t have mentioned it. I think it must have hurt his feelings terribly.”

Feltz continued: “Why on earth would you want to hurt the feelings of a person who consistently over a period of 30-odd years has delivered more listeners than any other broadcaster in the entire country?

Bruce departed the BBC last week (Getty Images)
Bruce departed the BBC last week (Getty Images)

“Why would you not want him to serve out every last second of his contract and bless his name for doing that. Absolutely bewildering, I do not get that at all.”

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

In January, Bruce announced he was leaving the corporation after 45 years to host a show on commercial rival, Greatest Hits Radio.

The veteran presenter, 72, told listeners in January that he’d “done everything it is possible to do” at the station.

“I would stress that this is entirely my decision,” he said at the time. “I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2.”

However, he later claimed that, while he “had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March, the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier”.

A BBC spokesperson told The Independent: “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.”

However, insider sources claimed that Bruce’s show was ending early to prevent him from promoting his new show on Greatest Hits Radio.

Feltz left Radio 2 last summer and recently described the experience as “hellish” and “absolutely terrible”.