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Monday, 21 December, 1998, 15:34 GMT
Radio 2 stays Young at heart
jimmy young
Jimmy Young: Staying with Radio 2 into the next century
BBC Radio 2 has insisted veteran broadcaster Jimmy Young will remain at the heart of its schedule - despite reports he is to be moved or dropped from the network.

The station said it had "no intention" of removing the 75-year-old lunchtime presenter, who will have been broadcasting for 50 years in 1999.

Radio 2 controller Jim Moir said Young had only recently signed a contract which would keep him at the station until at least March 2000.

john inverdale
John Inverdale: Was tipped to replace Young
"Jimmy Young is one of the greatest broadcasters this century and Radio 2 is delighted to have secured his services into the next," said Mr Moir.

Speaking on his show on Monday, Young himself denied the reports, which tipped Radio 5 Live's John Inverdale as a possible replacement.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "What has actually happened is that the BBC, as is their wont over the years, either offer you a contract to follow that one or don't, and in my case they have offered me a contract to stay on until the end of March 2000.

"What would be very nice is if a 'senior BBC insider' who keeps speaking to everybody else and issuing these statements would speak to me."

Radio 2 has recently attempted to broaden its audience to attract younger listeners displaced by changes to Radio 1.

steve wright
Steve Wright: Former Radio 1 stalwart, now on Radio 2
Pop concerts like the London Fleadh festival and names such as Steve Wright and Johnnie Walker - both Radio 1 stalwarts in the 1980s - now sit alongside old favourites like Sing Something Simple and Big Band Special in the schedule.

Recently there were reports - denied by the BBC - that older listeners were to be encouraged to move to Radios 3 and 4.

Young is one of Britain's most respected broadcasters, best known for his ability to deal with demanding interviewees in a conversational style.

But broadcasting was not his only career - he was best known as a singer during the 1950s.

Moving from the Light Programme to join Radio 1 at its launch in 1967, he was transferred to Radio 2 in 1973 and introduced interviews to his show.

Politicians were eager to be invited - Margaret Thatcher was a guest 14 times.

But John Major reportedly refused to appear on the programme again after Young told him "the voters took Lady Thatcher seriously while they laugh at and make fun of you".

His show still attracts 3.5m listeners daily.

See also:

07 Dec 98 | Entertainment
Eagles fly high in Radio 2 chart
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