The presenter, 49, is stepping down for a break to run an ultra marathon, running from London’s Victoria Park to Bolton Wanderer’s stadium, for Children In Need.
The news was shared to BBC Radio 2’s Instagram, with a fun video of Vernon musing over potential stand-ins. ‘Noel Edmonds? No… Mr Blobby? No.’
Vernon then made a phone call to fellow northern presenter Paddy McGuinness, 50, who is listed in his mobile as ‘the OTHER kay’ and said he needed him to ‘host the quiz.’
The No Likey No Lighty star agreed, joking: ‘Oh, didn’t know you still did that! Love all that. Count me in!’ in reference to Family Fortunes, before Vernon clarified that he wanted him to stand in on BBC Radio 2.
Last month, radio Industry body Rajar reported how Vernon has lost 1.3M listeners since taking over the mid-morning show, with an average of 6.9M tuning in. With figures spanning June to September 2023.
Meanwhile in the same period over at Greatest Hits, his predecessor Ken Bruce, 72, has increased the audience of his new show by 800K to 3.7M.
Previously he said he had left the BBC after three decades in the same slot because it was ‘time for a change’ and it felt ‘like the natural culmination of some planning I’ve been doing’.
But now Ken has revealed he decided to jump ship before he started to become ‘bitter and entrenched’, saying: ‘It was a long time and I thought I’m doing the same thing every day.
‘There was a point of saying that I can’t enthuse over all the new music I’m having to play as much as I could over the old music. And I didn’t want to get to the stage where I was badmouthing some of the music [or] pretending to like it.’
The father of six elaborated: ‘I certainly did think I’ve got a bit more to offer. I didn’t want to be declining over the next three or four years and still doing the same show, but everybody around me getting younger and thinking, ‘Am I the old bloke in the corner here?’
‘I was the youngster on the station and then almost overnight I became the veteran, and I didn’t want to become the old grump in the corner saying ‘things aren’t what they used to be’, or [to] any new idea say, ‘No, we tried that, didn’t work’, which does happen. I just felt I would get more bitter and entrenched.’
Upon taking the job over the summer, Vernon insisted that he just wanted to ‘be himself’ on the radio and that numbers were ‘not that important’ to the station.
He told The Sunday Times: ‘ It would be foolish to replicate Ken — Ken is Ken. My parents said, ‘Just be yourself.’ I did Radio 1 and I never worried about the numbers because they didn’t worry the boss.
‘I did commercial network Radio X and did worry because numbers did worry the boss. Numbers are not as important to me as people assume.
‘I like my job. I say hello to nearly seven million people. It’s bonkers. People say Radio 2 this and Radio 2 that, but the station gets 13.5 million listeners a week.