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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Virgin axes DJ Evans
Chris Evans and Billie Piper
Chris Evans with his popstar wife Billie Piper
DJ Chris Evans has been fired by his employers at Virgin Radio in a move that could lose him millions of pounds.

The station said Evans was in breach of his contract after skipping his breakfast show for a week.


Chris Evans has been in breach of his contract and Virgin Radio was left with no option but to terminate it

Virgin Radio
The DJ said he was ill, but footage of him out drinking with his teenage wife Billie Piper has pushed Virgin into replacing the star with Steve Penk.

A statement from Virgin read: "Chris Evans has been in breach of his contract and Virgin Radio was left with no option but to terminate it.

Chris Evans and Billie Piper
Evans and Piper being driven to their home on Wednesday
"It is not just the events of the last week, although his high profile absence from work has obviously brought it to a head."

'Lost millions'

The termination of his contract is expected to cost Evans millions of pounds in lost share payouts after selling his Ginger Media Company to Scottish Media Group last year.

One condition was that he stay with the station until all the shares were paid up.

The final share payment, thought to be worth ú12.8m, was not due until January.

Evans had already spoken out about his desire to stay at Virgin, telling The Mirror newspaper that he was genuinely sick and that was the reason he had not been at work.

Virgin spokesman Ben Brewerton
Virgin spokesman Ben Brewerton confirms Evans no longer works for the station
"I've been ill and there is a doctor in my kitchen right now who will confirm that to anyone," he said.

Evans declined to say what was wrong with him.

He said he didn't want to leave with a multi-million pound pay-off.

Speaking before the announcement, he said: "I don't want their money. I want my freedom and I want to carry on doing the job that I love, presenting the best breakfast show on radio."

'Poking their noses'

Evans also criticised Virgin management for changing their music policy four times in 18 months and "poking their noses into the day to day running" of his show.

The White Horse, Hascombe
Chris Evans and Billie visited their local pub in Hascombe
The presenter and popstar Billie were seen visiting their local pub in Hascombe, Surrey, on Wednesday, closely followed by reporters and camera crews.

Evans is recognised as one of Virgin's biggest on-air draws and he is never far from the headlines, partly for his high-profile lifestyle.

In May, he married 18-year-old Billie Piper in Las Vegas, 12 months after he first met her on his Channel 4 TV show, TFI Friday.

Penk, who takes over the breakfast show on 9 July, has presented TV Nightmares and has worked on Capital Radio.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's RobertáNisbet
"And so ends the sometimes tempestuous relationship between Chris Evans and the station he used to own"
John Pearson, Chief Executive of Virgin Radio
"No one DJ is bigger than this radio station"

Talking PointTALKING POINT
Vote now
Should Chris Evans have been sacked?

How to avoid becoming a victim of sickie culture
The art of the 'sickie'

See also:

08 May 01 | Showbiz
The Pied Piper of Swindon
29 May 01 | Showbiz
Chris Evans banned from driving
08 May 01 | Showbiz
Evans honeymoons with Billie
08 May 01 | Showbiz
The decline of the Ginger prince
28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
No return to BBC for Chris Evans
28 Feb 01 | Swansea City
Evans targets struggling Swans
13 Jan 00 | Business
Evans sells up
21 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Ginger jibe doubles 'Red Ken's' cash
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