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Chris Evans to quit Radio 2 for Virgin

By | Published on Monday 3 September 2018

Chris Evans

Chris Evans announced on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show this morning that he will leave the station at the end of the year. “Some of us are mountain climbers [but] if you get to the top of your favourite mountain and you stay there, you become an observer”, he told listeners. “I want to keep climbing”.

That big climb he’s about to make, it turns out, is a clamber over to the breakfast slot on Virgin Radio. Evans previously presented the same slot on the original Virgin Radio (which later became Absolute Radio) after quitting BBC Radio 1 in 1997. He ended up buying the station on that occasion, selling it a couple of years later and then getting fired by its new operators in 2001. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around as he joins the new version of Virgin Radio, operated by News UK on the digital radio platform.

“In many ways Virgin Radio is my spiritual home”, Evans said in a statement. “I see nothing but exciting and groundbreaking opportunities ahead. In a medium that is changing so quickly on a daily basis, the potential for growth is unprecedented. Our plan is: to give it all we’ve got, see where we can get to and have the most possible fun along the way. It makes me smile every time I think about it”.

A fews years after his high profile fallouts with both Radio 1 and the original Virgin Radio, Evans joined Radio 2 in 2005, originally presenting a Saturday afternoon show. He took over drive time in 2006, before replacing Terry Wogan on breakfast in 2010.

“I have absolutely loved every single moment of my time at Radio 2”, said Evans in a further statement. “The last thirteen years have flashed by in what seems like the blink of an eye. I have learnt so much from so many people to whom I will be eternally grateful”.

“As Sir Terry said before me, there’s never a right time to leave something you love but there might be a wrong time if you hang on too long”, he continued. “I honestly think ‘The Breakfast Show’ is currently as positive, useful, sunny and inclusive as it has ever been. In fine shape for its next custodian. Whoever that turns out to be, I wish them all the very best, they are in for an absolute blast”.

BBC Director General Tony Hall bid Evans farewell, saying: “Chris has been an absolutely first-class presenter of ‘The Breakfast Show’. He has brought both warmth and a genuine insight into what listeners want. He has given 100% to each of his BBC projects, including raising millions of pounds for Children In Need. I’d like to thank him for all his efforts over the years and wish him all the best for the future”.

As Evans says, he leaves the Radio 2 breakfast show in pretty good shape. With just over nine million weekly listeners, according to the last RAJAR figures, it remains the UK’s most listened to radio show. Although he’s about half a million down on his first RAJAR numbers eight years ago, so there’s room for improvement for whoever succeeds him.

Evans’ final show will air on 21 Dec this year. Names being touted as possible replacements include Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Simon Mayo, Mark Goodier, Mr Tumble, Matt LeBlanc, BBC-favourite Nigel Farage, soon-to-be-job-seeker Theresa May, Napalm-Death-champion Ed Miliband, your mum, my dad and the ghost of Terry Wogan. Well, some of them.