What are the changes to Radio 2’s schedules and when do the new presenters start?

Get to know the new-look line-up, including Zoe Ball, Sara Cox, Trevor Nelson and The X Factor's Rylan Clark-Neal

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It’s been all change recently over at BBC Radio 2, with an overhaul of the line-up once dismissed by Woman’s Hour presenter Jane Garvey as “extraordinarily male and entirely pale”.

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New presenters include Zoe Ball, who is replacing Chris Evans as the new host of the hugely popular Breakfast Show, while Sarah Cox (originally pegged for Ball’s new job) is taking over Drivetime following Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley’s short-lived pairing.

When do Radio 2’s new presenters take over?

The new line-up launches on Monday 14th January, so make sure to tune in!


Who are the new Radio 2 presenters?

Zoe Ball— Weekdays, 6.30-9.30am (takes over from Chris Evans)

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No act is impossible to follow but Zoe Ball has her hands full taking over the Radio 2 breakfast slot from the colossus that was Chris Evans — her task made all the more daunting by the fact that, over on Virgin, Evans will soon be her direct rival. Then again Ball is a bit of a legend herself — the first woman ever to host the Radio 1 breakfast show (all of 21 years ago), and now the first woman to do the same thing on Radio 2. Life has thrown at a lot at Ball, but — wild child that she once was — she has hardly lacked for spirit and she’s already proved how great she is to wake up to.


Sara Cox — Weekdays, 5-7pm (takes over from Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley)

Sara Cox

How close was Sara Cox to landing the breakfast show? We may never know, but drivetime is a major consolation prize, and with a triumverate of Ball, Cox and Jo Whiley occupying three key weekday slots, Radio 2’s gender balance has a very welcome new look. It’s hard to believe that it’s 20 years since Cox — once the epitome of the ladette — joined Radio 1, moving to Radio 2 in 2011 and launching her Sounds of the 80s show in 2013.

“I’m beyond chuffed,” she says of the new show. “To directly quote my mum on hearing the good news, it is indeed ‘fandabbyruddydozy’.”

Jo Whiley — Monday-Thursday, 7-9pm

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Now released from her ill-fated partnership with Simon Mayo, Whiley returns to the solo evening slot (an hour earlier than her last one) over which she presides with such aplomb. “Dream show. Can’t wait!” was her reaction to the switch, and Whiley fans can look forward to a show that will give prominence to guests and live sessions. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Whiley’s debut on Radio 2, and this couldn’t be a better way for her to celebrate it. Whiley will continue to present the Radio 2 In Concert series and will also be standing in for Ken Bruce in 2019 when he is away.

Trevor Nelson — Monday—Thursday, 10pm–midnight (takes over from Sara Cox)

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The Sony gold lifetime achievement award that Trevor Nelson won in 2010 is a measure of his status in the radio pantheon. A pioneer of R&B, Nelson joined Radio 1 in 1996, presenting The Rhythm Nation for 17 years. In 2016, after various roles on Radio 1Xtra, Nelson launched Rhythm Nation on Radio 2 on Saturday evenings; now the show moves to four nights a week. “I’ll be introducing tracks from some soul stars of the future,” he says, “and playing my favourite songs from the past 50 years of dance music. Bring it on!”

Rylan Clark-Neal — Saturday, 3—6pm (takes over from Zoe Ball)

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Since coming fifth on The X Factor in 2012, then winning Celebrity Big Brother in 2013, Rylan Clark-Neal has established himself as a TV and radio presenter. He launched the podcast Step Back in Time in November, in which he and a showbiz friend re-live great pop-culture moments; now he takes over Radio 2’s Saturday afternoon slot, from 19th January. “Expect a mix of fun and Rylan’s inimitable style,” says the head of Radio 2, Lewis Carnie.