Bruce will host a new daily show for Bauer’s station Greatest Hits Radio, taking his iconic PopMaster game with him.
He will be replaced on Radio 2 by Vernon Kay in May, but until then Gary Davies is manning the mid-morning show.
On Monday he unveiled the BBC’s replacement for PopMaster – a new game called Ten to the Top – although listeners could be forgiven for noticing a lot of similarities. Here’s how the new game works.
What is Ten to the Top?
Like PopMaster, Ten to the Top is a music quiz that pits two contestants against each other.
As the name suggests, each contestant is asked 10 questions about pop music. Whoever has the most points at the end wins a smart speaker.
Question one is worth one point if answered correctly, question two is worth two points, question three is worth three points, and so on, all the way up to 10.
However, if a question is answered incorrectly, the value of the following question goes back to one point again, and climbs from there.
Each contestant has a “joker” to play, and for that question they’ll get double points if its answered correctly.
If both contestants get the same score the winner will be decided by a “closest to” question which will have been asked off air before the quiz started.
The quiz follows a very similar format to PopMaster, other than the scoring. In PopMaster each question is worth three points, with selected “bonus” questions worth six points.
Asked about similarities between the two quizzes, a Radio 2 spokesperson said: “Radio 2 listeners have enjoyed a weekday music quiz at 10.30am for decades and this will continue with our brand new quiz, Ten to the Top, for our new mid-morning show.”
PopMaster was conceived by Bruce, quiz expert Phil Swern and Vanessa Brady, a doctor of design, over a lunch. First aired in 1998, it became an instant hit with listeners, helping Bruce’s Radio 2 show become the most popular in Britain.
It is unlikely that Bruce’s team could bring a legal challenge against the BBC since the basic elements of a pop quiz would be not be copyrightable, and the creators of Ten to the Top are likely to point out sufficient differences in its rules.
To find out more about taking part in the quiz, head to the Radio 2 website here.
When does Ken Bruce start on Greatest Hits?
Bruce will present his first show on Greatest Hits on Monday 3 April, and will then be on air every weekday in the mid-morning slot, from 10am until 1pm.
For his new show, Bruce promises “me and my musings and all the great records you know and love from the 70s, 80s and 90s”.
Bruce said that after 45 years on the BBC it was “time for a change”, explaining: “Nothing stays the same forever and I have decided the time is right for me to move on from Radio 2 when I reach the end of my current contract in March.
“It’s been a tremendously happy time for me. I’ve made many friends and worked with many wonderful colleagues.”
He added: “I would stress that this is entirely my decision but some new opportunities have come up and I would like to continue my career in a slightly different way in the next few years, the details of which will be revealed shortly.
“I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2 in particular, and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to make the mid-morning show a success.”
Bruce joined the BBC in 1977, and spent a year presenting the Radio 2 Breakfast Show before starting in the mid-morning slot in 1986.
After brief forays into late nights and early mornings, he returned to mid mornings at the start of 1992, where he has remained ever since. He has also fronted Radio 2’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest since 1988.
How can I listen to Greatest Hits Radio?
According to the Greatest Hits website, the station can be found on FM and DAB. You can access the specific regional frequencies for the show on Planet Radio.
The station already features in its presenting ranks the likes of Simon Mayo (who left Radio 2 in 2018), Martin Kemp, Jackie Brambles and Pat Sharp.