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Ken Bruce will present his final show on BBC Radio 2 this morning after more than three decades – and on his last day at Broadcasting House today he decided to slam the corporation for forcing him to leave early.

The Scottish presenter’s final mid-morning programme will air from 9.30am to midday, before he leaves the corporation to join rival station Greatest Hits Radio. He will be replaced on Radio 2 by Vernon Kay from May – with Gary Davies sitting in until then.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Ken said has said his early exit from BBC Radio 2 ‘seems a shame’ after he spent more than four decades at the corporation – and more than 30 years on the mid-morning show 

The 72-year-old broadcaster said: ‘It’s entirely within the BBC’s right to ask me to step away a little early. But for the sake of 17 days, which was all that was remaining (on my contract), it seems a shame.

‘Over the last 46 years, I haven’t had very much time off, I’ve attempted to turn up whenever I’m required to turn up. So my natural feeling as a broadcaster is if I’ve got 17 days to do, I want to do them.’

Ken’s exit has seen the BBC again accused of ‘ageism’ with listeners calling themselves ‘Radio 2 refugees’ vowing to follow him and his beloved Popmaster quiz to Greatest Hits Radio.

Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Ken, Paul O'Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo

Radio 2 fans have accused the BBC of ageism as a string of older DJs step back, including Ken, Paul O’Grady, Steve Wright, Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo

The presenter will be moving to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.

Bruce also told Radio 4: ‘Gardening leave is a known concept in broadcasting, and in many other areas.

‘But you just adapt your timetable, and instead of three weeks, it’s one week, and that’s fine.’

‘My belief is that, when I’m given a contract, I work to it and complete it’.

His departure appears to suggest a shift within the BBC of trying to attract a younger audience, though critics including Paul O’Grady have claimed this ‘doesn’t make sense’ when Radio 1 already targets that demographic.

Bruce is leaving a month earlier than planned as corporation bosses became ‘frustrated’ that his shows were ‘free advertising’ for his next station

 The 72-year-old first joined the BBC in 1977 in his 30s as a Radio Scotland presenter, going on to present several different programmes.

His first regular slot on Radio 2 was the Saturday Late Show in 1984, and the following year he fronted the Radio 2 Breakfast Show, taking over from Sir Terry Wogan.

Bruce later moved to mid-mornings in 1986 and after a brief stint on late nights and early mornings, returned to mid-mornings in January 1992.

The presenter will be moving to Bauer’s Greatest Hits Radio in April to present a new mid-morning show from 10am to 1pm.

Prior to his departure, Bruce said that he would ‘always be proud’ of his association with the BBC and Radio 2, but that he wanted to continue his career ‘in a slightly different way in the next few years’.

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But he revealed that he was ‘surprised and a little disappointed’ to learn that his final show had been brought forward to Friday by the BBC.

‘I had intended fulfilling my contract until the end of March but the BBC has decided it wants me to leave earlier. Let’s enjoy the week ahead!’ he tweeted.

He later told the Daily Mail newspaper that he ‘wasn’t given any real reason that I understood’ by the BBC for the decision to move his final programme.

However, sources told The Sun: ‘The BBC believe that every second he is on air is just free advertising for his new show on Greatest Hits Radio.

‘They became frustrated by the rival station launching a marketing campaign for his show. It leaves a sour taste.’

Vernon Kay appeared on Zoe Ball's BBC Radio 2 breakfast show to discuss his new slot, and he cried when he described his joy getting the job

Vernon Kay appeared on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show to discuss his new slot, and he cried when he described his joy getting the job

Bruce is leaving a month earlier than planned as corporation bosses became 'frustrated' that his shows were 'free advertising' for his next station

Bruce is leaving a month earlier than planned as corporation bosses became ‘frustrated’ that his shows were ‘free advertising’ for his next station 

In response to his comments, a 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.’

Bruce’s slot is due to be taken over by TV presenter Vernon Kay in May, on a date yet to be announced.

Gary Davies, host of the station’s Sounds Of The 80s, will present the mid-morning show from March 6 until Kay takes over the helm, the BBC said.

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The corporation’s apparent shift towards a younger audience has been criticised by industry giants including Paul O’Grady.

The broadcaster, who left Radio 2 in 2021 after being asked to share his slot with comedian Rob Beckett, criticised the approach taken by bosses. 

‘Radio 2 has changed, it’s not what it was,’ he told Metro.co.uk

‘They’re trying to aim for a much younger audience, which doesn’t make sense because you’ve got Radio 1. Radio 2 was always for an older audience.’ 

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