Terry Wogan today confirmed he is to quit his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show, with Chris Evans taking over the slot.
Wogan, 71, told listeners of the long-running and much-loved ’Wake Up to Wogan’ that he would be stepping down at the end of the year.
He said that he was not quitting the airwaves altogether and had an exciting new show lined up.
He said: “This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my broadcasting career, to say goodbye to you in the mornings.”
Making the announcement live on air, Wogan said: "Now, if you'll pardon me, I've a little bit of news of my own.
“If the mail is anything to go by, most of the listening population have spotted a report that next year I’m going to turn into Chris Evans.
“And I hate to tell you, but it’s true. I was hoping to break it to you, my loyal listener, more gently. I wanted to be the first to tell you. It’s the least I owe you, for endless years, countless hours of morning companionship, friendship, good humour, and laughter. Your loyalty and support has been a beacon of love in my life.”
Wogan explained: “I’d rather leave while we’re in love, as the song says, while the programme is the most popular on British radio, while we still delight in each other’s company.
“And so we will, until the end of the year, when my good friend Chris Evans takes over. I know that you’ll give him the same love and affection you’ve always shown to me.”
Announcing that his new radio project, he added: “And in the new year, I’ll be starting a really exciting new show, live from the BBC Radio Studio at Broadcasting House in front of you, as my live audience, presenting the very pinnacle of live music, artists, guests, and of course, you, your mail, your warmth, your wit.
“So, this is not goodbye, it’s not even au revoir... As they used to say when I was a lad: ’See you later alligator... in a while, crocodile’.”
Wogan's move is expected to be greeted with consternation by his army of fans known as TOGs (Terry's Old Geezers or Gals).
One listener writing on the BBC Radio 2 message board said the move was a disaster.
The poster wrote: “What a disaster it will be to lose Wogan in the mornings and worse still to get Chris Evans! who is ok if a little childish at drive time but would be terrible to wake up to in the mornings.”
Another wrote bringing in Evans for the breakfast spot was a “mistake”.
Other posters were more positive, with one describing Evans as “excellent and just what is required”.