Chris Evans to make dramatic return to his 'spiritual home' Virgin Radio Breakfast Show after emotional BBC exit

The 52-year-old spent 13 years at Radio 2 but this morning stunned listeners when he said he was stepping down to start a “new adventure”.

He said he “loved every minute” working on the flagship morning show for the last eight years but has now revealed he is going back to his “spiritual home” at Virgin.

Evans will present his last show in December and will take over at Virgin in the New Year.

He previously hosted the breakfast show on Virgin Radio between 1997 and 2001 and will be joining the station for the third time.

Evans, who is expecting twins with his wife Natasha Shishmanian, said he is excited about his new role.

Speaking about his new appointment, he said: “In many ways Virgin Radio is my spiritual home.

“I see nothing but exciting and groundbreaking opportunities ahead.

“In a medium that is changing so quickly on a daily basis, the potential for growth is unprecedented.

“Our plan is: to give it all we’ve got, see where we can get to and have the most possible fun along the way. It makes me smile every time I think about it.”

Virgin Radio was relaunched by Wireless in March 2016 and the company said Evans is the "biggest name in radio".

Scott Taunton, CEO of Wireless, said: “We are beyond thrilled that Chris has chosen to come back to Virgin Radio.

“He is the biggest name in radio and is synonymous with the brand. He has the most exciting Breakfast Show in the industry and has an energy that captivates audiences.

“This is a transformational moment for Virgin Radio since it relaunched two years ago.

“It is the next stage of our radio revolution, giving us a world-class presenter and a nationally recognised breakfast show that will drive audience growth for the station, across DAB, our app and all forms of connected listening.”

The outgoing presenters of the Virgin Radio Breakfast Show, Sam and Amy, are set to be offered a new slot on the station.

Speaking live on air today, Evans said: “Some of us are mountain climbers and if you get to the top of your favourite mountain and you just stay there then you become a mountain observer.

"I’ve got to keep climbing so I’m going to go and go again. That’s what I’m going to do, I’m going to go again and start a new adventure."

He told fans: “It’s been quite big news in our house over the last few weeks and months. I’m going to leave Radio 2. I’m leaving Radio 2.

“A few weeks ago I made my mind up for sure. Since that conversation it’s been pointed out to me that I have been for 13 years – which is a long time, it’s a long time."

He added: "I have absolutely loved every single moment of my time at Radio 2.

"The last 13 years have flashed by in what seems like the blink of an eye. I have learnt so much from so many people to whom I will be eternally grateful.

"As Sir Terry (Wogan) said before me, there’s never a right time to leave something you love but there might be a wrong time if you hang on too long.

"I honestly think The Breakfast Show is currently as positive, useful, sunny and inclusive as it has ever been.

"In fine shape for its next custodian. Whoever that turns out to be, I wish them all the very best, they are in for an absolute blast.”

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, said: “Chris has been an absolutely first-class presenter of the Breakfast Show. He has brought both warmth and a genuine insight into what listeners want.

“He has given 100 percent to each of his BBC projects, including raising millions of pounds for Children in Need.

“I’d like to thank him for all his efforts over the years and wish him all the best for the future.”

The former Top Gear presenter took over the morning slot from Sir Terry in 2010, and has seen listening figures rise from 8.1million to 9.4million.

He has also won a string of awards for the show, notably taking home the Best National Music Breakfast Radio gong at the Aria Awards in 2016.

Evans first joined the BBC in 1990 and presented the Saturday afternoon show for Greater London Radio.

The dad-of-three, believed to be worth around £55million, later moved to BBC Radio 1 before leaving to join Virgin Radio in 1993.

He later rejoined the corporation and hosted its flagship Radio 1 Breakfast Show for two years from 1995 before rejoining Virgin for four years between 1997 and 2001.

Evans subsequently went on to revive his TFI Friday show in 2015, as well as host the first series of Top Gear after the departure of Jeremy Clarkson.

Virgin Radio returned to the UK airwaves in March 2016 and boasts 413,000 listeners a week, listening for a total of 1,543,000 hours, according to the latest RAJAR figures.

Presenters include Eddy Temple-Morris, Kate Lawler, stand-up comedian Matt Richardson and Tim Cocker, all playing the very best music of the 80s, 90s, 00s and today.

Alongside the regular music programmes, Virgin Radio recently signed Pete Mitchell to present the monthly Revolutions in Music documentary series and has a monthly Classic Album series fronted by Jamie East.

Virgin Radio is available nationally on DAB digital radio, online and on mobile via the Virgin Radio app. Website: Twitter: @VirginRadioUK.

Virgin Radio UK is 100% owned by Wireless, which was acquired by News UK in 2016.

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