Ken Bruce on BBC Radio 2 exit: 'I'm going to make them appreciate me'
Speaking to Radio Times magazine, Ken Bruce reveals more about his talked-about BBC Radio 2 exit.
Ken Bruce has spoken more about his contentious exit from BBC Radio 2 after being at the helm of the mid-morning weekday show for 31 years.
He revealed: "One of the reasons I went is because, having done the show for quite a long time, and with it being the highest-rated programme in Europe for four years, I thought, 'What’s to achieve? What’s left? What mountains are left to climb in this particular place?'
"And I thought, 'Not really very much.' I didn’t want to go into a slow decline, and have people all looking around and saying, 'When is he going to leave?' I wanted to go rather than hear that.”
Bruce continued: "I probably wanted to prove a few things to myself, and maybe to some other people, about my worth on Radio 2. There were times when I felt I wasn’t really noticed by either the BBC itself or some listeners. So I thought, 'I’m going to make these people appreciate me.'
"And having done that to my satisfaction, I felt it was time to give myself a little challenge, try something different, rather than become stale and wait for the axe."
When chatting about what made him feel as though he wasn't being appreciated, he explained: "Well, this is going back a few years, but there were times when all the publicity was about other presenters, people who were off the telly, and I wasn’t mentioned at all. I was just an afterthought.
"And I thought, 'Well, I just want to make these people realise that I’m doing quite a good job.' There was a certain amount of, 'Oi, I’m over here!'"
Bruce's last show aired on Friday 3rd March, weeks earlier than planned as he was originally intending to keep on presenting on BBC Radio 2 until the end of March.
Speaking about his early exit, he revealed: "I’m a little bit disappointed by that, I have to say. Because I thought that, after 45 years, I could be trusted to do the right thing for the next few weeks. But obviously it’s up to them. It’s their choice."
At the time, Bruce referred to his early departure as a "shame". When chatting on Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 3rd March, the presenter said: "It’s entirely within the BBC’s right to ask me to step away a little early. And gardening leave is a known concept in broadcasting and in many other areas.
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"But for the sake of 17 days, which was all that was remaining, I would have finished on the 24th anyway. So it seems a shame, but you know, you just adapt your timetable. Instead of three weeks it's one week and that's been fine."
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When previously approached for comment by RadioTimes.com about the change of Bruce's departure date, a BBC Radio 2 spokesperson said: "Ken decided to leave Radio 2 and it’s always been known he’s leaving in March.
"Returning to Wogan House for a week after a month of broadcasting the Piano Room sessions at Maida Vale provided a natural break. We wish Ken all the best for the future."
As for now, Bruce will join Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio this April in a new mid-morning show that will air from 10am to 1pm. Vernon Kay is replacing Bruce in the Radio 2 slot.
His new show may seem similar in format to his previous Radio 2 show, but Bruce delights in the fact that it will showcase more of the music that he knows and loves.
He tells Radio Times magazine: "I was brought up with radio in the '70s, '80s and '90s. And when you’ve got such a fantastic depth of music to be able to play from those decades, it’s lovely to be able to do just that.
"There’s no end to the quality tracks that you can play. Yes, there’s a place for new music, but to concentrate on those decades, and the quality of those decades, it’s a lovely offering and a lovely product. I’m delighted to be a part of it."