Chris Evans bids emotional farewell to BBC Radio 2 with last breakfast show

Roisin O'Connor

Chris Evans has called his final BBC Radio 2 show a “sad day” but asked listeners not to “shed too many tears”.

The radio host is preparing to move on after nine years, as he switches from the BBC to Virgin Radio in the New Year. His Radio 2 breakfast show will be taken over by Zoe Ball, who is the first woman to host the coveted slot. 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 show.

Rick Astley performed live in the studio for his last Radio 2 show on Monday 24 December. George Ezra, Richard Ashcroft, Stacey Dooley, Olly Murs and Paloma Faith were among his guests for his last full week.

Evans, who has spent 13 years with Radio 2, added: “You’ve got to turn the pages sometimes. If you wait for other people to turn them it might never happen.”

He took over from Terry Wogan in 2010, and was paid £1.66m for hosting the Radio 2 breakfast show in 2017-18. There have been reports that he will receive £2m a year from Virgin, but Evans 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.

Speaking on BBC One’s The One Show last week, Evans 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: “It is a shame, but Zoe is going to be on in January. Zoe’s brilliant and I took over from Terry,” he said.

”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.”

During his final show, Evans revealed that his team had created a book of their favourite moments from his time at the station.

“Glastonbury in the mud, when we recorded from my house. The Pudsy cup, more recent photographs, the Globe Theatre, the anniversary of the Normandy landings, Prince Harry, then the big anniversary of the Dambusters at Biggin Hill.”

However, this is not the end of Evans’ time on the BBC. He recently revealed he has said yes to taking part in Strictly Come Dancing next year.