Moment axed Radio 2 host Steve Wright walked out after quitting show

Moment axed Radio 2 host Steve Wright walked out of the BBC and lamented ‘sometimes people want you, sometimes they don’t’ after he announced he was leaving his show after more than 20 years

  • Steve Wright, 67, revealed that he is leaving his long-running Radio 2 afternoon slot after 24 years on air 
  • ‘Sometimes people want you, sometimes they don’t … I understand that, I really understand that’ he told BBC 
  • Steve has been at BBC for more than 40 years after joining in 1980 to present a Radio 1 Saturday night show 
  • He will be succeeded by Scott Mills, 49, who is leaving his afternoon Radio 1 show co-hosted with Chris Stark 

This is the moment Steve Wright walked out of the BBC yesterday after quitting his popular radio show live on air – before hinting that he was forced out by bosses after 24 years of presenting the programme. 

Donning his distinctive circular glasses, the veteran presenter, 67, appeared pensive as he spoke to a BBC reporter just moments after announcing he was leaving his Radio 2 afternoon slot.

In a move branded ‘diabolical’ by his fans, Wright is being replaced by Radio 1’s Scott Mills as the corporation wants to ‘try something different.’ 

As he exited Wogan House on Friday, donning a purple shirt, red striped tie and suit jacket, he told reporters it was ‘nice of you to come over’, adding: ‘That’s the way it goes… You know, sometimes people want you, sometimes they don’t. 

‘Sometimes they want to make changes, give you another offer, and that’s okay, I understand that, I really understand that.’

In announcing his departure, Wright said he will have his final show in September and that the BBC has ‘always been fair and kind’ to him. 

He will continue working for the broadcaster, promising ‘new projects’ in October. He will also still present Love Songs on Sunday mornings.  

Fans of the DJ, who has been with the corporation for more than 40 years after joining in 1980 to present a Radio 1 Saturday night show, said they will stop listening to the afternoon slot when he leaves.

One called it a ‘diabolical’ decision, with another Tweeting: ‘Ending his show is a terrible mistake BBC. There goes your audience.’

Another listener said: ‘His show is honestly what gets me through my work each day. Once he’s gone, the radio will be turned off for good.’ 

‘He should’ve had his job for life,’ another added. Others called it a ‘big mistake’ and a ‘sad and bad move’ from the BBC. 

The decision was also met with praise, with listeners saying that it was time for a change of host. 

Moving on: BBC Radio has announced a major shake-up as Steve Wright revealed he is leaving his long-running Radio 2 afternoon slot and will be replaced by Scott Mills

Fans of Steve Wright have called the change a ‘terrible mistake’, with some planning to stop listening when Scott Mills takes over the afternoon slot

Scott, 49, will be stepping down from his R1 weekday afternoon slot in order to succeed radio legend Steve, 67, as the host of his programme.

Some critics of the change disapproved of the incoming DJ, with one saying they ‘never enjoy’ his cover shows on Radio 2. But others praised the decision.

One said that Steve finishing his afternoon show in September is ‘the best news I’ve had all week’, adding: ‘His London-centric babble and talking over songs made me turn off years ago.’

Others said that it was ‘time for a change’ after 24 years with the same host, adding that Scott will be ‘ace’ in the role. 

Some listeners also described Steve’s show as ‘old fashioned and cheesy’, saying that it was time for a switch-up.  

Scott’s co-host Chris Stark also announced that he will be stepping down from their popular show, which airs from 1.30pm until 3pm.

The news is the latest reshuffle for BBC Radio, after the broadcaster said goodbye to Radio 1 breakfast host Nick Grimshaw and Future Sounds star Annie Mac last year. 

Steve made the announcement during his show on Friday afternoon, revealing he would be bowing out after 24 years as the show’s host.

The radio veteran told listeners his boss had told him she wanted to do ‘something different’ with his mid-afternoon slot.

Steve said: ‘At the beginning of this year, my friend and boss Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said she wanted to do something different in the afternoons.

‘Now, I’ve been doing this programme for 24 years at Radio 2, and so how can I possibly complain? The support and creative freedom that I’m given is fantastic at Radio 2 and really I can’t hog the slot forever, so let’s give somebody else a go.’

‘Later this year, fans of the afternoon show can go to BBC Sounds to hear a Serious Jockin’ series and I’m also looking forward to developing and creating some exciting new digital programmes and podcasts, which will feature elements of the afternoon show. I get so much creative freedom at the BBC, I have no complaints.

‘They’ve always been fair and kind to me.

‘We’re not done yet. Afternoons will finish in September, we’ll move onto new programmes and projects in October, and Love Songs will continue every Sunday morning.’

Radio legend! Steve has presented his weekday afternoon show on R2 for 24 years (1980)

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2 added: ‘Steve’s a legendary radio broadcaster and producer, known for his passion and commitment in keeping millions of listeners entertained each weekday afternoon.’

‘I’m thrilled he’ll remain in Wogan House as a part of the Radio 2 family to present Sunday Love Songs, as well as seasonal specials and regular Serious Jockin’ specials for BBC Sounds and Radio 2.’ 

There appears to be no ill feeling towards Scott, as Steve described the radio host as a ‘brilliant and versatile’ presenter. 

Steve’s big break came in the 1970s at Radio Luxembourg, where he hosted a nightly show before joining the BBC in 1980 to present a Radio 1 Saturday night show.

New pastures: Following the move to Radio 2, Scott will also no longer present his Saturday morning show on Radio 5 Live (pictured May 2022)

He moved to his Steve Wright in the Afternoon show 24 years ago, which revolutionised radio by introducing the zoo format to the UK. 

The award-winning star has bagged gongs for Best DJ of the Year and TRIC Personality of the Year for his radio programmes.

Steve’s fans took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the presenter’s iconic show, and claimed that it was the ‘end of an era’. 

Some claimed that it was a ‘terrible’ idea to move Steve on from the show, while others suggested they would be ‘switching off’ after he leaves.

Other’s shared there fond memories of how they would rush home to listen to Steve’s show.

Scott’s new show will air from 2pm until 4pm — an hour shorter than Steve’s programme — while Sara Cox’s drivetime show will be extended by an hour and now start at 4pm.

The news was announced on BBC Radio 1’s official Twitter account in a statement which read: ‘A sad day here at @BBCR1 as we say goodbye and a massive thank you to the legends Scott Mills and Chris Stark.

‘Wishing you both all the best for the future, you’ll be a huge miss. Tune into Radio 1 next Tuesday at 2pm for a big announcement.’

Following the move to Radio 2, Scott will also no longer present his Saturday morning show on Radio 5 Live. 

He previously covered for Ken Bruce and Steve on R2.

The news was also shared on Instagram by Lewis Capaldi, saying that Scott and Chris were ‘terrified’ to say something that would ‘upset’ their audience. 

‘They’ve asked me to do this for them,’ he said. ‘Unfortunately, I’m afraid that it’s true that Scott Mills and Chris Stark are going to be leaving Radio 1, which is a shame.

‘I’m going to miss the boys, the boys have been a big massive help to me and instrumental in my career, helping to push things and to get things to where it is. 

‘So I’ll miss them, and I’ll remember those lovely nights getting hammered in karaoke together, covered in Chris Stark’s spit during innuendo bingo.

‘As their official spokesman I feel like I should announce it, and I should also let you know that everything’s going to be okay, everything is okay, and everything is going to be explained on their show on Monday at 1pm on Radio 1, so they aren’t going anywhere quite yet.

‘But there it is, I’m sorry to be the bearer of this news.’

Reaction: Some claimed that it was a ‘terrible’ idea to move Steve on from the show, while others suggested they would be ‘switching off’ after he leaves

Scott said: ‘Time actually does fly when you’re having fun, and that’s certainly been the case over the past 24 years at my beloved Radio 1,’ he said.

‘The station I pretended to be on in my bedroom from the age of 6. The station I told my mum I wanted to work at, but never in a million years thought I would.

‘There are too many people to thank from my Radio 1 journey. So to the immensely talented people I’ve worked with along the way, to our incredible listeners that have made us part of their everyday lives for so long and of course to Chris – not just my co host, but one of my best friends in the world, which of course he will be forever. THANK YOU.

‘It’s also been an honour to start the weekend on BBC Radio 5 Live for the past three years. I’m so proud with what we have managed to achieve.

‘I really cannot believe I’m going to be calling Radio 2 my new home! I’m beyond excited to be joining the team and working alongside my radio idols and friends at the legendary Wogan House.

‘I would like to wish all the best to Steve, who is one of the finest broadcasters in the world and someone whom I look up to so much.

‘Over the past few years the Radio 2 listeners have made me feel so welcome and I can’t wait to build new memories with them!’

Steve , who will leave afternoons in September, is not leaving the BBC completely and will continue to present Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2.

Chris will be leaving Radio 1 to focus on presenting That Peter Crouch Podcast and his podcast with Chef Tom Kerridge The Pirate Ship.

In January, BBC exec Tim Davie revealed plans to freeze the licence fee meant that they had to cut programming by £285 million. 

End of an era: Last year Drivetime host Nick departed from Radio 1 after 14 years at the station in the latest ‘diverse’ line-up reshuffle from the BBC(pictured in 2018) 

Detailing what was on the table to be cut, he said: ‘Everything is on the agenda.’

Last year Drivetime host Nick departed from Radio 1 after 14 years at the station in the latest ‘diverse’ line-up reshuffle from the BBC.

The presenter, 37, who joined BBC Radio 1 in September 2007, hung up his microphone, with Jordan North and Vick Hope taking over.  

The news came just weeks after Annie announced in April that she was leaving after 17 years to be replaced by Clara Amfo.

Speaking at the time, he said: ‘I have some news guys, some big news. It’s big news for me to announce. I want to do it at the start of the show otherwise I’ll be weird for the next two hours. 

‘I’ve been thinking about it for a little while, after 14 years of working here I’ve made a big decision.’ 

Nick went on to say how he has kept his exit a secret and hasn’t ‘told anyone’ as he wanted to let his listeners be the first to know.

He said: ‘It a huge decision, an exciting one and a happy one. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought. Radio 1 is home to me. It’s the only station I’ve wanted to work. 

‘I was thinking the past 18 months have been the most surreal moments ever. A lot of you guys, you take stock in times like this and look at your life. I looked at mine and I wanted to make that change. 

Replacements: The presenter, 37, who joined BBC Radio 1 in September 2007, hung up his microphone, with Jordan North and Vick Hope taking over

Statement: Nick also took to Twitter to confirm his exit after speaking about it on his show, gushing that it was a ‘childhood dream’ to work on Radio 1

‘My childhood dream was to work on Radio 1 and I have been lucky enough to make that dream come true. 

‘It has been everything I’d imagined and even more. I grew up wanting to connect with people and to feel accepted and the Radio 1 listeners gave me that and let me be part of their daily life, for which I will be eternally grateful. 

‘But over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future and after 14 years, I’ve made the decision that it’s time for me to move on – I’d like to thank the listeners as without them none of this could have been possible and the Radio 1 family, who have been such a huge part of my life. Thank you thank you thank you.’

It came as insiders told MailOnline Nick’s decision to leave Radio 1 ‘isn’t about money’, but because he wanted  a new challenge.

Bring it on: Grimshaw said the pandemic made his reassess his life and feel ready for the next chapter (pictured presenting the show from his living room last month) 

Exit: It comes after Annie Mac announced she was leaving after 17 years in April 2021

A source said: ‘It’s not about the money. He’s done Drivetime, the Breakfast show, hosted late night but now he’s stepping away from radio as he wants a new challenge. 

‘Nick’s loved every minute of his time at Radio 1 and loves broadcasting. He will still be starring on Celebrity Gogglebox. 

‘He has been at Radio 1 for 14 years and wanted a change.’ 

BBC bosses chose I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! runner-up Jordan, 32, and Vick, also 32, to replace him on the airwaves in the afternoons, starting from Monday, 6 September 2021.

New host: Following Nick’s announcement, Vick shared this snap of herself coming up Radio 1’s elevator with the caption ‘incoming’

Radio 1: Vick replaced Cel Spellman to co-host Life Hacks and ‘Official Chart: First Look’ alongside Katie Thistleton on BBC Radio 1 in August 2020

Vick replaced Cel Spellman to co-host Life Hacks and ‘Official Chart: First Look’ alongside Katie Thistleton on BBC Radio 1 in August 2020.

Landing the role, former Capital presenter Vick said: ‘What a madness! Drivetime!

‘I love Radio 1 so, so much, having grown up tuning in religiously every single day, it means the world to be taking the reins at home-time with the phenomenal Mr North.

‘Grimmy is an absolute legend of the game, thank you mate for every laugh you’ve sent rippling through the country. 

‘Taking over Drive is a task we won’t be taking lightly, but Jordan and I are ready to put our all into making your journey home that little bit brighter.’ 

Jordan, meanwhile, appeared as a cover presenter on Radio 1 from 2014, and four years later was announced as the new host for the station’s Greatest Hits show on Sunday mornings. 

‘I’m devastated’: Radio 1 fans were left in shock after hearing the news, with some questioning why Nick and Annie were both leaving so close together as they reacted on Twitter

In September last year, Jordan was announced as the new regular 11am-1pm weekend host on BBC Radio 1. He also was the main cover presented for Nick and Scott Mills.

The I’m A Celeb star added: ‘I am absolutely chuffed to be making the move over to Radio 1 daytime and even happier to be working alongside Vick. 

‘Grimmy is a Radio 1 legend so we definitely have big shoes to fill but will work extremely hard to make sure afternoons on Radio 1 still sound superb. 

‘I am super excited to get started and look forward to this next chapter with Vick and the rest of my Radio 1 family.’ 

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of Radio 1, said: ‘I am so excited for Vick and Jordan. The audience have taken to both of them over the last year so it’s a dream to be able to bring them together to host such an important show in Radio 1’s schedule. 

‘I can’t wait for people to hear some of the ideas and projects they’ve got lined up, they’re really pushing the boundaries of what we can do. 

‘September is going to be a new sound for Radio 1, from established great broadcasters to bringing through the next generation of talented DJs we will continue to reflect our young audience across the UK and we’ll have a lot of fun doing it.’ 

Ahead of this ‘new sound’ being unveiled, Radio 1 has seen a big change in its line-up with some of its biggest stars exiting.

Nick’s exit came after Annie announced she would be stepping away.

The DJ, 43, confirmed her departure in April, telling listeners her job has been like a ‘second home’.  

Dedicated: Jordan appeared as a cover presenter on Radio 1 from 2014, and four years later was announced as the new host for the station’s Greatest Hits show on Sunday mornings

Dean was given his first opportunity to host on Radio 1 over the 2020 festive period as part of Radio 1’s Christmas Takeover where 33 new DJs and presenters were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to broadcast on the UK’s biggest youth radio station, and has since hosted Friday Early Breakfast on the station.  

Dean’s first show will be on Friday, 10 September. 

Dean’s new show will be broadcast from Salford and is the first Radio 1 programme to move out of London as part of the BBC’s Across the UK plans, announced by the Director-General earlier this year. 

Dean said: ‘When I applied for the Christmas cover gig in December I didn’t think for one second that I’d get it never mind landing my own show 6 months later, I’m absolutely buzzing. 

‘So let me get this straight, we get to hang out every weekend, cause absolute CHAOS and party to all the biggest Radio 1 anthems? That’s iconic! This one’s for my people in Manchester and my wee country of Northern Ireland, we did it!’

Newcomer: In addition to the new shows being announced, Victoria Jane (pictured) will also be joining Radio 1 to launch a new show – ‘Radio 1 Future Soul’

BBC Radio’s big earners 


Scott Mills – £345,000-£349,999

The presenter is involved with a number of shows for the BBC including The Scott Mills Show, Radio 5’s The Scott Mills and Chris Stark Show.

Greg James – £275,000-£279,999

As well as presenting on the airwaves, Greg also plays a huge part in the Big Weekend event. His roles include: Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Radio 1’s Teen Awards and Big Weekend, Radio 4’s Rewinder.

Nick Grimshaw – £240,000-£244,999

Although now leaving the station after several years, Nick made a name for himself on Radio 1’s drivetime show and for his work during the Radio 1’s Big Weekend events.


Zoe Ball – £1,360,000-£1,364,999

The star presents her own Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. 

However the salary figure does not include her wages for presenting Strictly: It Takes Two because the show is produced by BBC Studios.

Graham Norton – £725,000-£729,999

The presenter has a range of gigs in the BBC including his weekly show on Radio 2 and TV shows.

Graham recently quit BBC Radio 2 after 10 years to head to Virgin Radio and slammed the ‘pointless’ annual publishing of BBC’s high earners list.

Steve Wright – £475,000-£479,999

Another big earner for BBC is Steve Wright, with him fronting Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs.

Vanessa Feltz – £405,000-£409,999

The star regularly hosts Radio 2 Early Breakfast Show as well as Radio London Breakfast Show and doing Radio 2 cover.

Ken Bruce – £385,000-£389,999

Also featuring in the BBC’s earnings list, Ken was revealed to make a tidy sum for his work on Radio 2’s Mid Morning Show, the Eurovision Song Contest, and Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park.

Claudia Winkleman – £365,000-£369,999

The Strictly host’s weekly show for Radio 2 and a range of programmes and series makes her around £369K.

Jeremy Vine – £320,000-£324,999

Daily show on Radio 2, election programme

Jason Mohammad – £285,000-£289,999

Daily BBC Wales programme and other BBC Wales TV output, Final Score, other football, The Boat Race, Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday

Jo Whiley – £280,000-£284,999

The radio veteran hosts a Radio 2 evening show.

Sara Cox – £275,000-£279,000

Another well-known name on the BBC channels, Sara’s salary is calculated for her work on Radio 2 Drivetime show and Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park.

Tina Daheley – £255,000-£259,999

Tina appears on a host of shows including Radio 2 Breakfast Show, Beyond Today podcast, BBC One News, BBC Breakfast cover, BBC World Service’s The Cultural Frontline and cover for Woman’s Hour.

Trevor Nelson – £220,000-£224,999

Also making the list is Trevor who works on Radio 2’s Rhythm Nation and some weekend shows on 1Xtra. 


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