Capital breakfast host Roman Kemp has paid an emotional tribute to his late producer and “best friend” Joe Lyons.
The presenter and his co-hosts had to leave their breakfast show early last Tuesday, after learning of his death.
Stand-in presenters took over for the rest of the week as Capital’s parent company Global gave Kemp and his team time off from work.
Returning on Monday, Kemp explained their absence and paid homage to Lyons, who he said “taught me everything”.
“I never thought I’d have to do this, ever,” said a tearful Kemp.
“Last Tuesday, very suddenly, we lost one of our best friends, my best friend and our colleague, producer Joe.
“He was not just part of the Capital Breakfast family but a loved member of the whole team.
“Everybody that works here at Capital [is] obviously completely devastated and we’re trying to process this all together.”
‘A bit of a Del Boy’
Recalling his early days at the station, Kemp said: “He was the first person I met when I walked in the door, the very first person.
“I remember thinking, ‘who’s this guy?’ This guy is a bit of a Del Boy!” – a reference to the lead character from the popular sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
“He was with me right from my very first show, he taught me everything” Kemp continued, adding that it was “really weird sitting in a radio studio without him”.
Kemp, who is the son of Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, finished third in last year’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.
His breakfast show, co-presented by Sian Welby and Sonny Jay, attracts an audience of around 3.3m listeners, according to the most recent figures available from industry body Rajar.
Rob Howard and Lauren Layfield took over hosting duties for the rest of last week after Kemp and his team were given time off.
‘Like a genius’
The presenter noted that any guest who had appeared on the show in recent years would have spoken with Lyons, who would greet them with a friendly “hello buddy” before putting them on air.
“Every A-lister that you ever hear on this show, they know who he is, everyone,” Kemp said. “He’s the person they spoke with first, and if you’ve ever called into this show, he was the person who picked up the phone.
“He really couldn’t do enough for people. He was the nicest guy that I know, hands down.”
The presenter added: “The thing that he loved most of all was doing this show.”
“He was like a genius coming up with these ideas. He was driven by the reaction from you [the listeners] every day.”
Kemp’s former co-host Vick Hope, who left the show earlier this year, also paid tribute to Lyons on Instagram.
“I really do love you, bud, so so much. We all do. I hope you know that,” she said. “We are so lucky to have known you. The world is a better place for having had you in it.
“Your talent and creativity are so immense, but more than that you are the kindest, most hilarious, caring, fun, fiercely loyal and spectacular person any of us had the pleasure of meeting.”
Fellow breakfast host Greg James, from BBC Radio 1, praised Kemp for his “incredibly brave” on-air tribute.
“Really so so sad to hear this. Incredible words. Thinking of you all xx,” added broadcaster Chris Stark.