Fans rally behind Zoe Ball as she kicks off her first Radio 2 breakfast show: “Give it a chance”

Ball's opening show featured a guest appearance from Nadiya Hussain, an opening track from Aretha Franklin and a comeback for a segment from her kids TV days

Programme Name: The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show - TX: n/a - Episode: Zoe Ball Breakfast Show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Zoe Ball - (C) BBC - Photographer: Sarah Jeynes

Fans got behind Zoe Ball on the morning of her first Radio 2 breakfast show, despite some dissenting voices.

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Ball became the first woman ever to front a BBC radio weekday show solo in the coveted 6:30am-9:30am slot after taking over from Chris Evans – who is on his way to Virgin Radio later this month – and she immediately faced criticism from some listeners on Twitter.

But Ball had plenty of people behind her, too, urging the naysayers to give the show a chance.

“Reading through Twitter, some of the Zoe Ball comments are ridiculous,” Lynette Fay tweeted. “To all the critics, are you doing your current job in the same way as you did in the first minute of your first day? Zoe is nervous, she is a human being! Toughest day is nearly over…. Give it a chance.”

The newly anointed host kicked off her first show by playing Aretha Franklin’s Respect – she said her first song “had to be a dame, on this occasion” – which went down a treat with fans.

“Zoe Ball’s first track brought a tear to my eye,” Liz Laing wrote. “Woman doing breakfast on Radio 2 and Euretha [sic] playing! #Womenonradio.”

During the show, she re-introduced the Hit, Miss or Maybe game, from her 1990s Saturday morning TV series Live and Kicking, asking former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to rate new songs from Fleur East, Westlife and Busted. Other new segments, however, like Seven Second Shout-out and Show and Tell, were the source of ire amongst some Twitter users.

“Zoe Ball wasn’t that good this morning,” Andrew Gorner wrote. “That 7 second slot [is a] waste of time. Cut down on the shouting and stop interrupting people. Give it one more day.”

“7 Second Shout-out and Show and Tell are awful,” Louise Holmes wrote. “I now need to find another station… sad days.”

And others felt Ball wasn’t the right replacement for Chris Evans.

“Whilst I wish Zoe Ball all the best of luck in a role that she’s clearly excited to have taken on, I just cannot shake the feeling that BBC Radio 2 have got the breakfast and drivetime presenting choices the wrong way round,” Twitter user @Millsy2010 wrote, referring to Sara Cox’s move to the early evening slot.

Ball signed off the first show thanking listeners and vowing to work hard to improve upon today’s effort.

“Can we just say, thank you so much everybody for listening to our show today, thank you for all the wonderful messages of support,” she said. “I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. Obviously always room for improvement, so we will do our best tomorrow.”

There were plenty who enjoyed her first run-out, including BBC director-general Tony Hall and Countdown’s Rachel Reilly.

“Chris who?” Rachel Reilly wrote on Twitter. “Well done Zoe Ball amazing first show with amazing music. Gutted I have to get out my car and stop listening but work calls!”

And Hall, speaking to the Press Association at Broadcasting House, said the show was “brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

“We knew she was going to be brilliant,” he said.

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Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show airs weekdays at 6:30am-9:30am on BBC Radio 2