As Wogan goes, can Evans appease the Old Gits?

The news that Britain’s favourite broadcaster, Terry Wogan, is to retire from Radio 2 and be replaced on the flagship breakfast show by Chris Evans, who is 28 years his junior, has prompted claims that the BBC is neglecting a major part of its audience.

Evans, 43, is a former host of the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show where he successfully entertained listeners with his “zoo” style of studio-based sidekicks and suggestively-titled features such as “Honk Your Horn” and “In Bed with Your Girlfriend”.

Wogan, 71, began hosting the Radio 2 breakfast show in 1972 and has amassed an audience of 7.93m, including his dedicated following of TOGs (“Terry’s Old Gits”). The changeover will take place early next year when Wogan will move to a new weekend slot.

The switch prompted claims today that Radio 2, which is required under its service remit to serve listeners of 35 and upwards, is ignoring its older audience.

The broadcaster Dame Joan Bakewell, who was appointed by the government as a Voice of Older People, said: “As the younger people push the oldies off their perches there’s a sense that the target audience is getting younger. Who is catering for the TOGs? My heart sinks for the Terry fans who would like to have something in his tone – his lilting, comforting style – rather than what might be the more abrasive style of Chris Evans.”

The commercial radio sector also complained that its stations were being “squeezed” as Radio 1 and Radio 2 moved ever closer together, making it almost impossible for privately-run networks to deliver audiences in the 25-45 age range that advertisers often demand.

Andrew Harrison, chief executive of RadioCentre, the trade body for commercial radio groups in the UK, said: “The average age of the Radio 2 listener has been getting younger for the past decade with all the programming changes that have been made. Terry must deliver quite a lot of older listeners to Radio 2 and bring in someone 30 years younger is bound to bring the average age of the audience down further.”

He praised Wogan as a “national icon and wonderful broadcaster” and accepted that he would have to be replaced at some stage but questioned whether Evans was the appropriate replacement.

“It’s less than a decade ago that he was known as a Radio 1 disc jockey and host of late-night Friday television who was married to (actor) Billie Piper. It’s not a criticism of Chris Evans’s abilities which I think are pretty good, it’s more that it’s another indication that Radio 2 is chasing younger audiences.”

The row comes at a time when the service licence for Radio 2 is being reviewed by the BBC Trust, the body which oversees the corporation. RadioCentre has made a submission to the review, pointing out that the average age of a Radio 2 listener has fallen in the past decade from 53 to 50, in spite of the average age of the population in the over 35 sector having increased from 53 to 54 and being set to grow further.

Over the last ten years, the average age of Radio 2’s weekly daytime presenters has fallen from 55 (when Jimmy Young was still broadcasting) to 50 when Evans and his anticipated replacement, Simon Mayo of Radio 5 Live, join the line up. Radio 1 has recently come under fire for having an average listener age of 33, outside of its remit of serving 15-29 year olds.

Evans, who made his name as the host of the fast-moving Channel 4 television shows Big Breakfast, TFI Friday and Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush, made a fortune from the sale of his Ginger Media Company and has a collection of six white Ferrari sports cars. He was brought to Radio 2 by previous controller Lesley Douglas, who also hired the comedian Russell Brand before he was sacked over the “Manuelgate” obscene phone call scandal. As host of the Radio 2 drive-time show Evans has been a great success, building an audience of 5m.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Business Development Manager

£25000 - £27000 per annum + Bonus: Sauce Recruitment: Within your role as Busi...

IT Graduate

£15 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are looking for an eager IT Graduate / Technology ...

Ad Director / Sales Director

£55 - 65k + 25% Y1 OTE + Fantastic Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an e...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?