Broadcaster Chris Evans is leaving BBC Radio 2 to join Virgin Radio in the New Year.
He will leave the breakfast show thirteen years after joining the BBC station, hosting his final show in December 2018. He took over from Sir Terry Wogan on the breakfast show in January 2010.
Chris Evans announced his departure on the breakfast show this morning.
“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. 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,” said Evans.
In the new year Evans will join Virgin Radio, where he hosted the breakfast show between 1997 and 2001.
Virgin Radio returned to the UK in March 2016 and is only available on DAB digital radio and online. Virgin Radio launched in 1993 and became Absolute Radio nearly ten years ago.
Speaking about joining the station, he said: “In many ways Virgin Radio is my spiritual home. 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.”
The founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, said he was “delighted that my good friend Chris Evans is coming back to Virgin Radio.”
Writing on his blog, Branson said: “Chris continues to be one of the most entertaining people on the airwaves today and we’re very excited to have one of the world’s greatest radio presenters hosting our flagship breakfast show on Virgin Radio.”
The current hosts of the Virgin Radio breakfast show, Sam and Amy, are set to be offered a new slot on the radio station.
Chris Evans joined BBC Radio 2 in September 2005 to host a Saturday afternoon show. He moved to drivetime in April 2006, taking over from Johnnie Walker. At the station he has raised money for Children in Need with his CarFest festivals and launched the children’s writing competition 500 Words.
The Radio 2 breakfast show currently has a weekly audience of 9.04m (RAJAR – Q2 2018). The BBC has not yet announced who will take over the UK’s most listened to programme.
Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: “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 percent 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.”
The news was announced on the same day as Eddie Mair starts his programme on LBC following his departure from BBC Radio 4.