Now the BBC finally looks set to break with tradition to appoint a woman to host the coveted Radio 2 breakfast show.
Zoe Ball has been touted as a possible replacement for Chris Evans, who earlier this month announced his intentions to step down from the role to host a show on Virgin Radio UK.
Ms Ball, who currently presents an afternoon Saturday show on the station, has been reported to be in advanced talks for the role, the biggest radio job in the country. Her friend Sara Cox, who presents a late night show on Radio 2 and also covers for Mr Evans on the breakfast show when he is away, has also been mooted as a possibility for the role. Jo Whiley, Simon Mayo and Dermot O’Learyhave also been named as possible options.
Reports yesterday claimed that the DJ was in advanced negotiations to take over the programme but no contract had been signed. It is believed that a sticking point has been how she would handle her family commitments in Brighton, where she lives and has two children with her former husband Norman Cook.
The BBC, however, refused to confirm the rumours.
“We are considering and talking to a number of people,” a BBC spokesperson said. “We haven’t made a decision and we’ll make an announcement when we have.”
Ms Ball, who beame the first woman to host the Radio One breakfast show in 1997, was previously named the bookies’ favourite immediately after Evans announced his departure.
Her former husband, Mr Cook, also known as Fatboy Slim, was coincidentally being interviewed on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show by Evans yesterday morning.
Mr Evans said: “I’m going to ask you a question, then you’re going to say: ‘I’m sworn to secrecy,’ and then we’re going to move on. So – what do you know of this front page story in The Sun today about Zoe being offered this show come 2019?”
Cook replied: “I couldn’t possibly comment on that, Christopher.”
Yesterday afternoon, Ms Ball updated her Twitter account with a comment about her 17-year-old son, Woody. She also has a daughter, Nelly, eight.
She wrote: “No 1 son playing me a drum n bass version of Fairytale of New York. #mumnbass.”
Twitter user Jo Kerr replied: “Could be the rousing alarm you’ll need for those early morning starts...”
Bookmaker William Hill yesterday slashed the price of Zoe Ball being named as the next host from 6/4 to 1/8.
“On Sunday the odds suggested that Sara Cox was the most likely to get the gig but clearly that has changed and if Zoe wants it, the job looks as good as hers,” said Rupert Adams, spokesman for the company.
Evans, 52, has rejected suggestions that his decision to leave the station at the end of the year was due to money. Earlier in the year, his BBC salary was shown to be between £1.6 million and £1,669,999 as the corporation revealed earnings of its top talent in its annual report.