Jonathan Ross claims he was BBC Radio 2's first choice to replace Chris Evans.

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross

The 57-year-old presenter told viewers of his ITV chat show that BBC bosses approached him to take over from Chris, who is moving to Virgin, but he refused because he didn't want to do early mornings.

He said: "They asked me and I said, 'no. I can't do early mornings at my age because I'm lazy and rich'."

However, a source at the BBC insists that Jonathan was never approached about the gig.

The insider told the Daily Mirror: "The BBC did not approach Jonathan Ross about presenting the Breakfast Show. The new presenter of the Radio 2 Breakfast Show will be announced in due course."

Earlier this month, Chris revealed he is leaving BBC Radio 2's 'The Breakfast Show', which he's helmed for eight years after taking over from Sir Terry Wogan, at the end of the year, to return to his "spiritual home."

He said in a statement: "In many ways Virgin Radio is my spiritual home. I see nothing but exciting and groundbreaking opportunities ahead. In a medium that is changing so quickly on a daily basis, the potential for growth is unprecedented.

"Our plan is, to give it all we've got, see where we can get to and have the most possible fun along the way. It makes me smile every time I think about it."

The broadcaster hosted Virgin's breakfast show from 1997 until 2001 when he was sacked by the Scottish Media Group, which bought the station in 2000, for "breach of contract" after he failed to turn up for work for the sixth day in succession.

The station, which Chris once owned, went on to be rebranded as Absolute Radio in 2008 before Virgin was given a new lease of life in 2016 when Sir Richard Branson relaunched Virgin Radio UK as a digital station.

Chris will front Virgin Radio UK's Breakfast Show from early next year.