Daily Express

‘Nothing has changed apart from the voice’

Vernon fills Radio 2’s hallowed slot after legend Ken

- By Mark Jefferies

VERNON Kay kicked off his Radio 2 show with a classic track approved by his teenage daughters – and messages from fellow DJs that made him well up.

The Bolton-born broadcaste­r, 49, has replaced veteran Ken Bruce, who reigned in the mid-morning slot for 31 years.

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

His first tune was U2’s Beautiful Day, after which he said: “Tried and tested. My two daughters, Phoebe and Amber, they said, ‘Yeah dad, it’s a classic. Play it!’ There you go, Beautiful Day, U2, kicking us off.”

He followed it with Chic’s Good Times: “Hopefully a sign of things to come.”

And the DJ got teary as he heard messages from other DJs including Zoe Ball, Scott Mills and Jo Whiley.

Jo said: “You’re gonna be fantastic. I know you are. You are such a lovely person to listen to on the radio and you’re lovely inside and out as well.You are fun.You have a real love of music, a real passion.”

An emotional Vernon added: “You’ve stirred me brew there.That was lovely.”

He went on: “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.

“And that’s one thing we’re not going to be on this show. We’re not gonna be Londoncent­ric. This shows for you...it’s about what’s going on in your world.”

His dad, a lorry driver, and his cousins are all avid listeners to Radio 2, and the first listener to have his message read out was in his own wagon. Vernon said: “Chris the trucker on his way to Cobridge, I doff my cap and it’s a great privilege and an honour for me that the first message I read out is from a lorry driver.”

The show will feature the daily music quiz Ten To The Top – replacing Ken’s PopMaster – as well as Tracks Of My Years, Record and Album Of

The Week, and performanc­es from the Radio 2 Piano Room.

Ahead of his first show, Vernon, who is married to Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly, appeared on BBC Breakfast, promising it would be “more of the same”.

He said: “I’m very, very excited... nothing has changed apart from the voice behind the microphone.”

Asked if he gets nervous, he said: “It’s only talking...I think it’s that connection with the audience, the bond that you have.

“Fingers crossed, people will stay with us.”

●●Vernon Kay, weekdays 9.30noon, Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.

 ?? Pictures: BBC/PA ?? Air we go... Vernon has taken over from Ken Bruce, inset
Pal...Zoe’s message touched Vernon
Pictures: BBC/PA Air we go... Vernon has taken over from Ken Bruce, inset Pal...Zoe’s message touched Vernon

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