Vernon Kay promises new Radio 2 show will not be ‘London-centric’

The broadcaster replaces Ken Bruce in the mid-morning slot.
The broadcaster replaces Ken Bruce in the mid-morning slot. The broadcaster replaces Ken Bruce in the mid-morning slot.

Vernon Kay promised his new show will not be “London-centric” as he took over the mid-morning weekday BBC Radio 2 slot.

The Bolton-born broadcaster replaces veteran Ken Bruce, who helmed the programme for 31 years.

He opened his debut show by saying: ““Right then, here we go – the adventure, let it begin. Good morning, everyone. Welcome. Welcome on board. Let’s do this!”

Kay’s first song was Beautiful Day by Irish rockers U2, which he said was “tried and tested on my two daughters, Phoebe and Amber.”

He added: “They said ,‘Yeah, Dad, it’s a classic, play it’.”

Introducing Chic’s Good Times, Kay said: “Hopefully this is a sign of things to come.”

He later added: “I can relax now. We are two tracks in. It’s all right.

“Everyone just simmer. Let’s bring the boil down to a simmer. So much noise in the build up to this show, as to be expected, but we are here now, we are in the chair and the microphone is working and that is all that matters.

“It’s a beautiful day here in central London and I do honestly, hand on heart, hope it’s a wonderful day wherever you are in the UK. It’s fabulous out here.

“That is one thing we are not going to be on this show; we are not going to be London-centric. This show is for you.

“It’s not all about what is going on in the capital. Oh no. Trust me, it’s about what is going on in your world.”

Ahead of his first show, Kay appeared on BBC Breakfast, promising it would be “more of the same”.

He said: “I’m very, very excited. The BBC Radio 2 audience are very faithful and nothing has changed apart from the voice behind the microphone and I can’t wait to get started at 9.30 on the dot.”

Asked if he gets nervous, he said: “It’s only talking. It’s a skill the majority of us were born with.

“I think it’s that connection with the audience, the bond that you have. Fingers crossed, people will stay with us.”

Kay showed off a ‘good luck’ cake he had been given by Radio 2 staff, complete with icing headphones on top, as well as a gift bag containing a bottle of wine.

He said: “After today’s show we are going to have some cake and wash it down with whatever’s in this. It’s from France and it’s a rose.”

He continued: “Because the show was so successful it’s, ‘Don’t change it if it ain’t broke’. It’s more of the same, really.”

Asked what he will bring to the show, Kay said: “Nothing that they haven’t heard before, really, just tales of the past and everything that has gone on from when I was a caretaker in Bolton.

“All those stories that connect me with the audience. It’s not all champagne, bubbles, tuxedo and dinner parties once you get into showbiz.”

Kay also wished his mother a happy birthday, saying: “Gladys, the day is yours.”

Asked if he will play her a tune, he said: “We don’t play Doris Day yet on BBC Radio 2 but we might squeeze something in.”

He reassured fans there will not be changes to the music playlist, saying: “That’s what makes Radio 2 so special.

“It is the music and is the playlist and we’re going to stick with what we know best.

“There might be a few tweaks, you know, here and there, a couple more tunes with guitars in, but on the whole everything’s gonna stay as it is.”

Vernon Kay with his special cake
Vernon Kay with his special cake Vernon Kay with his special cake (BBC/PA)

Kay’s show will feature the daily music quiz Ten To The Top, Tracks Of My Years, the Record and Album Of The Week, and performances from the Radio 2 Piano Room.

In the first few weeks of his new tenure, Kay will welcome two new Piano Room sessions – Def Leppard on May 18 and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds on June 1.

Kay, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly, is known for fronting various shows on Channel 4’s T4 as well as ITV programmes including All Star Family Fortunes, Just The Two Of Us and Beat The Star.

Bruce, 72, announced he was leaving the BBC in January and moved to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.