Chris Evans forced to abandon BBC radio show after his mother dies

‘Mum was incredible, she needed to be at peace’: Listeners are left in tears as Chris Evans pays moving tribute to his ‘incredible’ mother Minnie, 92, who died forcing him to abandon his BBC radio show seconds before it started

  • BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans’s mother Minnie has died aged 92
  • Vassos Alexander, who usually reads the sport, stepped in at the last minute 
  • Evans left a note to say he ‘needed to go straight home to be with my family’
  • Host added that his mother had ‘needed to be at peace for some time now’

Chris Evans, pictured with his mother Minnie at London’s Chelsea Flower Show in 2000

BBC Radio 2 listeners were left in tears today as it was revealed presenter Chris Evans’s mother Minnie has died aged 92.

Evans’s colleague Vassos Alexander, who usually reads the sport on his breakfast show, stepped in at the last minute today to read a poignant note from the broadcaster to his millions of listeners.

Archbishop of York John Sentamu was among those paying tribute to Evans’s statement, saying it was ‘brill’, as other listeners admitted they were left in tears by such a ‘wonderful message’.

Mr Alexander said: ‘Chris isn’t here. He has been here. But he had to go just before we went on air. But he’s left a note for me to read out on air. This is very difficult because he is one of my best friends.’

Reading the note, he said: ‘Good morning, says Chris. The reason I’m not with you today is because just before I came on air my mum passed away and I needed to go straight back home to be with my family. But it’s all OK, in fact it’s very OK, mum needed to be at peace.

‘Moreover she needed to be at peace for some time now and as she has throughout her life in death she has brought us together. She was an incredible woman. 

Evans celebrates his 40th birthday with his mother on The New Paul O’Grady Show in 2006

 

In January last year, Evans posted a photo on Twitter of his mother Minnie aged 91 – smiling as she tucked into a slice of pizza for the first time in her life. He said she told him: ‘It’s time’


Evans, who is married to ex-golfer, Natasha Shishmanian (both left, on April 17), remembered his mother (right, in August 2015 at Carfest South in Hampshire) as an ‘incredible woman’

‘Anyone who has ever met her will tell you that an ultimately there was no battle lost only a life won. Every single day. I’ll be back tomorrow. 

‘If mum had the first idea I might not have shown up today because of her she would have been furious. I hope you have a lovely Thursday. See you tomorrow’. 

Poised and poignant, Chris Evans’s tribute to his mother on BBC Radio 2 just minutes after she passed away

‘Good morning. The reason I’m not with you today is because just before I came on air my mum passed away and I needed to go straight back home to be with my family. But it’s all OK, in fact it’s very OK, mum needed to be at peace.

‘Moreover she needed to be at peace for some time now and as she has throughout her life in death she has brought us together. She was an incredible woman.

‘Anyone who has ever met her will tell you that an ultimately there was no battle lost only a life won. Every single day. I’ll be back tomorrow.

‘If mum had the first idea I might not have shown up today because of her she would have been furious. I hope you have a lovely Thursday. See you tomorrow.’

Evans was very close to his mother, describing her as ‘hard as nails’, and revealed that she once underwent eye surgery without any anaesthetic.

He said in January last year that she had ‘lived through World War Two’ – before recounting how, after being told by the surgeon that she did not really need drugs for the delicate procedure, she opted to brave it anaesthetic-free’.

He also posted a photo on Twitter of his mother, who worked two jobs to support her three children when she was younger, aged 91 – tucking into a slice of pizza for the first time in her life.

Evans, who has three children and is married to ex-golfer, Natasha Shishmanian, added: ‘My mum – 91 years young – first ever slice of pizza! She’s broadening her horizons. ‘It’s time,’ she says.’

After the image appeared, people tweeted to say they could definitely see the similarities between mother and son.

Evans agreed, responding: ‘Hilarious. Loads of people tweeting how much I look like my mum. Isn’t that usually the case?’

When the television showman revived his hit 90s show TFI Friday in 2015, Minnie appeared on the programme, much to his fans’ delight. 

Archbishop of York John Sentamu was among those paying tribute to Evans’s statement

Minnie raised her three children, Diane, David and Chris, in Warrington, running the local corner shop. She moved south to be close to her DJ son, who lives in Berkshire.

The millionaire presenter would lean on his mother for advice during the ups and downs of his career, the pain of two divorces and the joy of having three children. 

Last July he revealed he called Minnie to ask how she thought he should deal with abuse following the revelation that he is paid £2.2million a year by the BBC.

The Radio 2 breakfast show and former Top Gear star said the former nurse told him to ‘earn what you can, when you can, while you can’.

Evans, who used to present Top Gear, tweeted a picture in June 2015 of his mother in a mobility scooter about to take on a Ferrari Maranello

BBC Radio 2 dedicated the show to Evans and his family today, posting a tweet this morning

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