Vanessa Feltz accuses BBC of ‘ageism’ after Ken Bruce announces Radio 2 departure

Vanessa Feltz has accused the BBC of “ageism” folowing Ken Bruce’s announcement he is leaving Radio 2.

The broadcaster, who once presented a show for the station, discussed the DJ’s decision to leave the corporation on This Morning.

After host Phillip Schofield asked her why she thinks Bruce, 71, jumped ship after 45 years working at the station, she said: “I can’t speak for him but I imagine that it’s a feeling of some sense of ageism at the BBC.”

Feltz, 60, claimed that older presenters are “not valued in the same way”, adding: “The music isn’t as appealling ‘cause they’ve changed it to appeal to a youger crowd they’re so desperate to get.”

When asked if she felt she was not valued due to her age, Feltz replied: “Yes, I did.”

Feltz then highlighted other names to have left the chanel in recent years.

“Think of all of the people who have left: Paul O’Grady’s gone. I’ve gone. Steve Wright’s there, but not much. Chris Evans has left. Graham Norton too.”

The BBC told The Independent in response to Feltz’s comments: “Ken explained his reasons for leaving Radio 2 in his quote and on air. We respect his decision and wish him the very best of luck in the future as he’s been a much loved part of the Radio 2 family.

“Radio 2 is hugely proud of having a range of presenters from their 30s to 80 years old on the station, an age range which hasn’t changed in decades. In fact, Ken Bruce started presenting on Radio 2 at the age of 32.

The statement continued: “[We] will continue to be a multi-generational radio station that serves a 35 plus audience with listeners tuning in each week to our brilliant range of programmes, hosted by some of the UK’s best loved presenters We continue to play a wide variety of the best music from the past seven decades, including from the 60s and 70s.

Ken Bruce is leaving BBC Radio 2 after three decades (Getty)
Ken Bruce is leaving BBC Radio 2 after three decades (Getty)

Bruce, who has hosted the 9:30am to 12pm weekday show since 1990, said the decision was “entirely” his own amd that “nothing stays the same forever”.

“After 45 years of broadcasting on BBC Radio, it’s time for a change,” he said on Tuesday (17 January).

“I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2.”

Bruce is moving to Bauer radio station Greatest Hits, where he will present a show from 10am to 1pm.

He also reassured his long-time listeners who were left concerned about the future of his beloved quiz PopMaster.