Entertainment

Ken Bruce hails BBC despite the ‘occasional vagary’ during final Radio 2 show

In his last address he thanked listeners, members of the Ken Bruce Preservation Society and his crew.
In his last address he thanked listeners, members of the Ken Bruce Preservation Society and his crew. In his last address he thanked listeners, members of the Ken Bruce Preservation Society and his crew.

Ken Bruce praised the BBC as “still the finest broadcasting institution in the world” despite the “occasional vagary” as he signed off his final show on Radio 2.

The Scottish presenter chose the medley of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End that closes The Beatles’ album Abbey Road to close his last mid-morning programme after 30 years.

During his final address on-air he thanked listeners, members of the Ken Bruce Preservation Society who gave him a bottle of Irish cream liquor, and his production crew.

Echoing a Beatles lyric, he added: “In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make and I have loved being here with you.”

Bruce previously revealed on Twitter he was a “little surprised and disappointed” that his final show had been brought forward to Friday by the BBC.

Opening his final programme on Friday, he warned listeners not “expect hidden messages” in the songs he played.

The programme also featured his long-standing segment PopMaster, presented by him for the final time on Radio 2, where one of his final guests made a dedication to him and her family.

Bruce, who was pictured with thank you cards at the beginning of his show, also received tributes on-air from other BBC Radio 2 DJs including Zoe Ball, Richie Anderson and Jeremy Vine.

After popping in to preview his Radio 2 show, Vine said he is “going to miss” Bruce and he is the “best” out of the “great people” he has worked alongside.

Following him leaving his studio in Wogan House to applause from staff, laden with gifts, Bruce thanked his colleagues in a speech for their support.

He told the PA news agency outside the building, he will “absolutely” look back on his last few weeks with fond memories despite the broadcaster asking him to leave earlier than he initially expected.

Reflecting on if the early departure made leaving bittersweet, he added: “It’s alright, I’m happy now. It’s all behind me. It’s not a problem.”

When asked what tips he would give TV presenter Vernon Kay, who will take over his Radio 2 slot on a date yet to be announced, Bruce said: “Vernon doesn’t need my advice. He’s a great guy and I wish him all the very best.”

Bruce also admitted it was a “sad day” but said he was looking towards the future, before telling the Radio 2 bosses “thanks for everything and farewell”.

Elsewhere, he told BBC News he was leaving of his “own accord”, adding: “I understand the BBC were in the process of preparing an offer for me to continue but, you know, I’d made my decision before that.”

Earlier on Friday, Bruce told Radio 4’s Today programme “it seems a shame” the BBC asked him to step away earlier from his contract as he leaves for a rival mid-morning show.

Vernon Kaye on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show
Vernon Kaye on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show Last week the BBC revealed that TV presenter Vernon Kay will take over Bruce’s Radio 2 slot on a date yet to be announced (BBC)

He added that during his 46 years he has not had “much time off” and his “natural feeling” was to do the last 17 days.

A Radio 2 spokesman previously said it had “always been known” he was leaving the station in March and they wish him “all the best for the future”.

Bruce will be moving to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.

Gary Davies, host of Radio 2’s Sounds Of The 80s, will present the mid-morning show from March 6 until Kay takes over the helm, the corporation also said.