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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 11:03 GMT
Race on to succeed Sir Jimmy
Jimmy Young and London's mayoral candidates in 2000
JY interviewed London's mayoral candidates on the London Eye
Who will step into Jimmy Young's shoes now that the Radio 2 DJ is leaving his lunchtime show after 28 years? BBC News Online's Robert White looks at some possible contenders.

Sir Jimmy Young's radio programme has become a national institution over the 28 years he has hosted it.

So his decision to leave the programme represents the end of an era - and it will be a brave broadcaster who pretends to his radio throne.

Frontunner for the post, according to bookmaker William Hill, with odds at 4-5, is Newsnight anchor Jeremy Vine.

Jeremy Vine
Understudy: Vine has stood in for Jimmy Young

Vine recently filled in while Sir Jimmy was on a break - and was widely held to have acquitted himself well in one of the most high-profile slots in broadcasting.

John Inverdale, one of BBC Sport's most versatile performers, has also been linked to Sir Jimmy's job.

William Hill are offering of 6-1 on Inverdale, who has also covered for Sir Jimmy in the past.

He has anchored Five Live's coverage of major sports events including the Olympic Games, the football and rugby World Cups and several Wimbledons.

Inverdale was first mentioned in as a successor in 1998.

Sir Jimmy denied the reports that he was poised to take over, insisting: "Nothing could be further from the truth."

John Inverdale
Inverdale was linked to the JY Prog in 1998

GMTV's Eamonn Holmes has also said that if Sir Jimmy were to leave the show he would like to apply.

Journalist David Aaronovitch from The Independent newspaper, who has been a stand-in presenter on Radio 2, is quoted at 8/1.

The bookies put Radio 5 Live's Simon Mayo at 12-1 while long shots include Chris Evans and Noel Edmonds, both at 100-1.

Last year, Radio Five Live's Nicky Campbell sparked a media furore when he reportedly claimed he had been offered Sir Jimmy's show.

Sir Jimmy was furious, and suggested success had made people "desperate" to get his job.

Radio 1 launch
Young was one of the launch DJs for Radio 1 in 1967

"Unless of course, in the ageist pursuit of youth, someone decides to ignore my record-breaking ratings and fire me," he added.

The fuss around the comments would appear to have ruled the Edinburgh-born 37-year-old out of the running for the job.

See also:

21 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Radio 2 stays Young at heart
02 Nov 01 | Newsmakers
Jimmy Young: Too old?
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