Vanessa Feltz accuses BBC of ageism as she blasts Radio 2 for letting go of 'genius' Ken Bruce | The Sun

VANESSA Feltz has accused the BBC of ageism following the shock announcement Radio 2 legend Ken Bruce has quit.

The Sun today last night revealed Ken Bruce, 71, turned down a new contract after becoming concerned by the corporation's drive for younger talent.

Now presenter Vanessa, 60, has blasted her former employer over its string of exits by top talent including Steve Wright, 68, Paul O’Grady, 67, and Simon Mayo, 64.

She also left the BBC over fears about a move to make DJs younger.

Quizzed on whether Vanessa – who is now a popular fixture on TalkTV – felt the same.

She told ITV's This Morning: "Yes, I did and look at all the people who have left. Paul O'Grady, I've gone and Steve Wright's who's down to one show a week. Chris Evans and Graham Norton all left Radio Two.


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"It's a real stellar list of the biggest stars with the hugest ratings who have walked. Why would you do that? Walk away from something so successful."

Ken will join Greatest Hits Radio in April, taking his cult quiz segment Popmaster with him.

Last night a source told The Sun: "Ken is Europe's most listened-to DJ and has nothing left to prove at the BBC. He's had an incredible time working there and is so grateful for the loyalty of all his listeners. But in recent years, there's been a noticeable shift in direction, with a drive to attract a younger audience.

"The music has become edgier and more modern and the DJs seemingly ever-younger, which is a bit concerning for the old guard.

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"Ken is still hugely ambitious and the BBC actually offered him a new deal. But after some months of negotiations, he decided the time was right for new opportunities.

"The fact he is taking Popmaster with him is a real coup for Greatest Hits — and a hammer blow for the Beeb. The very real fear is that listeners will leave in their droves."

Social media was yesterday flooded with fans mourning his departure, with many pledging to boycott Radio 2. TV presenter and fellow Scot Lorraine Kelly tweeted: "This is too much. I draw the line Ken Bruce is the best presenter on radio anywhere in the world.

"He's kind, funny, wise and warm and I am really sad about this. End of an era. You will be sorely missed young man."

Ken regularly drew more than nine million listeners and has interviewed stars from Sir Rod Stewart, 78, to Beyoncé, 41. He said yesterday "the time is right" to move on from the weekday mid-morning show which he has presented since 1986.

In his press release for Greatest Hits Radio, he also pointedly said he looked forward to playing music from the 1970s to the 1990s — not mentioning the Noughties music Radio 2 often plays nowadays.

He said: "What better way to celebrate my 45 years in radio than with a new adventure."

Ken, who joined the Beeb in 1977, said in his BBC statement: "Nothing stays the same forever. I've done everything it is possible to do at Radio 2. I've always felt I've got something more to prove.

"I hope when people hear the news they will say, 'Sorry to hear you're going Ken, but maybe I'll follow you to wherever it is you're going'."

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