A TV presenter who lives in Bucks has shut down speculation that he has been discouraged by a drop in listener numbers following his takeover of a popular BBC Radio show. 

Vernon Kay, who lives in Beaconsfield with his wife, Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly and their two daughters, took over BBC Radio 2's mid-morning show from long-term presenter Ken Bruce in May, two months after the 72-year-old Scot quit the BBC after a 30-year tenureship. 

In a recent interview with The Times, Kay, who is known for a variety of presenting and reality TV gigs including I'm A Celebrity and All-Star Family Fortunes, addressed the significant dip in listeners the station had recorded since Bruce's departure, denying that it had put a dent in his confidence.

Recent stats showed that the mid-morning show, which Bruce had previously manned for three decades, saw a drop in 1.4 million listeners over the months since his departure. 

Kay told the newspaper that, contrary to public perception, the numbers were "not as important" to him as some might assume.

He added: "People say Radio 2 this and Radio 2 that, but the station gets 13.5 million listeners a month. (Numbers falling) will naturally happen because if you look at the line-up changes, some big names left, and some came in.

"If you've got a favourite tree in the garden, every now and then it needs trimming to get better."

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Despite Kay's positive front, it was recently revealed that the BBC's overall share of the time people spend listening to the radio in the UK had fallen to a new post-pandemic low. 

Data from Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) showed that Radio 2 suffered an overall loss of a million listeners in recent months - a sign of the times, perhaps, and of familiar faces making way for new talent - but one that coincided with Ken Bruce's new show on Greatest Hits Radio recording an audience jump of 13 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Alongside a quarterly fall in Radio 2 listeners, the audience for BBC Radio 4 was at its lowest level since the pandemic this year, with Radio 1 managing to buck the trend by recording a year-on-year increase of 3 per cent.

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, said: “Radio 2 remains the UK’s most popular radio station with 13.5 million loyal listeners who tune in each week to the best music from the past seven decades presented by some of the country’s most loved presenters.”