Jonny Saunders to leave The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2

Long-serving BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show sports reporter Jonny Saunders – who has been working alongside Chris Evans for nearly five and a half years, will be leaving Radio 2 on Friday 8 July 2011 to pursue a career in teaching.

Talking about the Breakfast Show, Jonny comments: “The last five and a half years have been an absolute joy working with a man who I would describe as both a genius and a gentleman (except when it comes to judging head to headlines). It has been a privilege. From fun and frolics on the Drivetime show to sporting challenges on the Breakfast Show, it’s been non-stop and hugely entertaining. There’s only so long though that one can cope with the 3.50am alarm calls.”

On the future, he said: “I’m now looking forward to pursuing a career in a completely different profession – one that I’ve also always been passionate about. The Breakfast Show has proved to be a massive success and, in Vassos Alexander, I leave the sports reporting in very capable hands. I’ll miss everyone at Radio 2, particularly the Breakfast Show team, and wish them all continued success.”

Chris, who has shared many a laugh with his side-kick, says: “Five and a half years Jonny has had to put up with me. No one should have to go through that. I don’t know what crime he committed, but I’m glad he’s finally served his sentence. Now, whoever gets him next, in whatever he chooses to do, will be getting a helluva guy. As long as it doesn’t involve driving that is. My mum – on her mobility scooter – has an average speed twice that of any journey Jonny has been behind the wheel for.”

Jonny began his professional career with Capital Radio in 1998 before joining the BBC in 1999. Since then, Jonny has worked across the board for a number of different BBC Radio stations including Radio 1, 2, 4, 5 Live, and 6 Music. Jonny has been working as Radio 2’s sports presenter since joining the Chris Evans Drivetime team in 2006, making the move to the Breakfast Show with Chris in 2009. Few will forget his antics with Chris during the Sporting Challenge series where the duo tested their sporting ability against one another, often with hugely entertaining results.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Programming for Radio 2, said: “Jonny has established himself as a firm favourite amongst the Radio 2 listeners and will be sorely missed by them and everyone on the show, and we wish him the very best of luck.”

Leading the sporting charge on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show from Monday 25 July is sports presenter Vassos Alexander, who has been reading the sport on Radio 5 Live for the last two and a half years.

Vassos says: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to get the chance to work on such a prestigious programme, with one of the best radio broadcasters of modern times.”