Evans pledges smooth ride on breakfast show

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The Independent Online

Chris Evans kicked off his first show in the Radio 2 breakfast slot today by playing The Beatles' classic All You Need Is Love and telling listeners: "Thanks for tuning in."

There had been much anticipation about how Evans would mark his transition into the show and what his first record would be as he replaced Sir Terry Wogan.

But he acknowledged his turbulent past - which saw him walk out on breakfast shows for Radio 1 and Virgin Radio - as he addressed listeners.

"Buckle up but not too tight. This time I can guarantee there's going to be very little if any turbulence," Evans said.

Evans held back from any major statement of intent as he kicked off the show - simply praising his new newsreader, Moira Stuart, who has returned to the BBC after disappearing from TV screens in 2007.

"Well, good morning, Moira Stuart. How are you? It's so good to have you back on the BBC. Three cheers for Moira Stuart, back at the BBC where she belongs."

Then turning to his audience, he said: "Good morning, friends and thanks for tuning in."

Sir Terry hosted the breakfast show for a total of 27 years. There have been fears that Evans could alienate many of the loyal Togs (Terry's Old Geezers/Gals) as Sir Terry's die-hard listeners were known.

But he eased the listeners in with familiar classics, playing not just All You Need Is Love but going straight into another Fab Four track, Got To Get You Into My Life.

He and his presenting team told listeners they had been getting into the swing of the programme with a series of practices over the past few days.

"This is not our first show together - this is our seventh show. It's only going to get worse," Evans joked.

"They say break a leg - but not in this weather."

Sir Terry was not at home to listen to his successor's first show today because he was on holiday in France. However, he did leave a good luck for the presenter last night.

Evans said the voicemail message appeared on his phone at 10.30pm on Sunday and played his words on the show.

Sir Terry said: "I just wanted to wish you well. I know you will do a marvellous job.

"You'll be brilliant. I know you will."

Evans told listeners: "To say I was blown away by this is an understatement."

He was also sent numerous good luck presents prior to the programme, including chocolates, yoghurts and cakes, plus hundreds of good luck emails and texts from well-wishers.

Evans's other musical choices included tracks by Frank Sinatra, Robbie Williams, Elbow and Paolo Nutini. And in a nod to his past Evans played a track by the band Ocean Colour Scene, whose Riverboat Song featured each week in Evans's Channel 4 show TFI Friday.

Continuing the sentiment of his opening track All You Need Is Love, Evans said his debut breakfast show had a theme.

"Today's show is entitled peace and love and let it be a force for good," he said.

Stuart was also given a feature on top of her newsreading role, reading out a "golden oldie" request each day.

Evans also unveiled a feature in which he chats to listeners to hear about the day they have planned, plus his "wrong bong", where he makes corrections to any slip-ups in the programme, and a competition "Either/Or", in which callers have to guess the answers celebrities have given to questions.