Chris Evans bids farewell to Radio 2

Chris Evans and Zoe Ball

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Zoe Ball will take over from Chris Evans in January

Chris Evans bids farewell to BBC Radio 2 with his final show on Christmas Eve.

The DJ’s last breakfast show comes three months after he announced he is leaving the slot after nine years, and a total of 13 years at the station.

He will move to Virgin Radio in the New Year and Zoe Ball will take over, becoming the first woman to host Radio 2’s breakfast slot.

It is Europe’s most popular radio show, although Evans’ ratings fell to a six-year low of 8.9 million this summer.

The presenter took over from Terry Wogan in 2010 and took listener figures to almost 10 million at their peak.

  • Chris Evans: A life in broadcasting
  • Evans says yes to Strictly Come Dancing 2019

Speaking on BBC One’s The One Show last week, he said he was “excited” about his move, but admitted it was “a shame” to be doing his last show at Radio 2.

He said he started thinking about leaving after somebody pointed out how long he had been at the station.

He said: “It is a shame, but Zoe is going to be on in January. Zoe’s brilliant and I took over from Terry.

“Terry was amazing, nobody could do that show like him so we had to do it a different way and Zoe can continue that.

“You’re a steward of a show like this. The show isn’t yours, you’re the stewards of it and somebody else will come along, and I think that’s a lovely thing.”

It’s not the end of his relationship with the BBC, though, because he also revealed he has said yes to taking part in Strictly Come Dancing next year.

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Rick Astley will perform live in the studio for his last Radio 2 show on Monday. George Ezra, Richard Ashcroft, Stacey Dooley, Olly Murs and Paloma Faith were among his guests for his last full week.

Evans will host the Virgin breakfast show from 21 January.

His new programme is being billed as the first commercial radio breakfast show without conventional advert breaks. Instead, it will be sponsored by Sky, and Evans will promote Sky’s programmes during his slot.

Evans was paid £1.66m for hosting the Radio 2 breakfast show in 2017-18, and there have been reports that he will pocket £2m a year from Virgin. But he has denied his move was about the money.

In September, BBC director general Tony Hall said the publication of star salaries was a factor in Evans and former Radio 4 presenter Eddie Mair choosing to leave the corporation.

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