Advertisement

Ken Bruce claims BBC failed to promote huge Radio 2 moment: ‘It wasn’t mentioned’

Ken Bruce claims BBC failed to promote huge Radio 2 moment: ‘It wasn’t mentioned’

Radio presenter Ken Bruce has expressed his hurt that the BBC allegedly failed to promote the news that, in 2019, his mid-morning programme became the most listened-to radio show in the UK.

The veteran broadcaster, 73, regularly presented the Radio 2 show from 9.30am to midday for more than 30 years, until he left the station in March 2023 to be replaced by Vernon Kay.

His decision came after the late Steve Wright was nudged out of his Radio 2 afternoon slot, while Simon Mayo, Graham Norton and the late Paul O’Grady also stepped down from their respective programmes.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Bruce said he didn’t recall the BBC mentioning his success in 2019, when he overtook Zoe Ball to become Britain’s most listened-to radio presenter.

“I didn't want any hoo-ha, so when my show became the biggest show on radio, I didn't want to say anything about it, but I kind of thought the BBC should,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting to be carried on a litter with people strewing palms in front of me, but I thought, surely that's worth a mention? As far as I’m aware, it wasn’t mentioned by the BBC at all. Ever.”

The BBC declined to comment when approached by The Independent.

Bruce, who is now at Greatest Hits Radio, presented a mid-morning show on Radio 2 for more than 30 years (PA Wire)
Bruce, who is now at Greatest Hits Radio, presented a mid-morning show on Radio 2 for more than 30 years (PA Wire)

Bruce left the BBC to move over to its rival, Greatest Hits Radio, which he said had made him feel at home “since pretty much day one”.

While he initially said it was his decision to step down from the BBC, he later accused the corporation of pushing him to leave earlier than he had intended, in a tweet shared shortly before his last show.

“I will be presenting my last show on Radio 2 next Friday,” he wrote on 24 February last year. “I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let’s enjoy the week ahead!”

Responding to Bruce’s tweet, 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.”

In the Telegraph interview, Bruce also rejected claims that his former colleague, Steve Wright, had died of a “broken heart” aged 69, after being taken off his Radio 2 slot.

“Above all, Steve was a realist,” the Glasgow-born presenter said. “Nobody likes to be taken off a show... but it’s something we all have as a possibility at the back of our mind.”

Presenter Steve Wright, who was also taken off his BBC Radio 2 slot, died earlier this year at the age of 69 (BBC)
Presenter Steve Wright, who was also taken off his BBC Radio 2 slot, died earlier this year at the age of 69 (BBC)

“Nothing is forever,” he continued. “It’s happened for decades. Jimmy Young was asked to move on before he was ready and there was nothing wrong with his figures – it was because they felt he was representing an age group that they didn’t want to have represented any more.

“These decisions are taken, we are the foot soldiers, and we just go along with what’s wanted. For most people, there’s an option of going to work somewhere else or work in a different way in the same place.”

He added: “Very rarely does somebody have the rug pulled from under them with nothing left.”

Following his move, Bruce now plays the biggest songs of the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties every weekday morning on Greatest Hits Radio.