22/10/2018 14:27 BST

Sara Cox Favourite To Replace Simon Mayo On Radio 2 Drivetime After Missing Out On Breakfast Slot

Zoe Ball previously beat her in the race to the top job.

Sara Cox has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley as the host of the Radio 2 Drivetime show. 

The DJ lost out to Zoe Ball in the race to succeed the departing Chris Evans at the helm of the station’s Breakfast Show last month, but it seems she could still be in line for promotion. 

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Sara Cox

Bookies have named her as the red hot favourite to land the job, while listeners have also backed her on Twitter - just as they did when Chris announced he was leaving the station

William Hill have made Sara their favourite at 1/2, with a spokesperson commenting: “The BBC’s decision to overlook Sara Cox for the breakfast show caused a significant backlash and we cannot see them overlooking her again.”

Others in the frame include Craig Charles at 5/1, Mark Goodier at 7/1 and Richard Bacon and Liza Tarbuck, both at 8/1.

On Twitter, people were very vocal about wanting Sara to move from her current Monday to Thursday 10pm slot to the more high-profile show. 

As well as hosting her own late night programme, Sara is also the current Breakfast Show deputy - a role she will continue when Zoe takes over from Chris in January. 

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Sara lost out to former pal Zoe Ball in the race to replace Chris Evans on Breakfast

Simon announced he was leaving Radio 2 after 17 years on Monday, while his co-host Jo will move to a new show in January from 7-9pm, Monday to Thursday.

In a statement, he said: “Obviously, I’m very sad to be leaving Radio 2, and my good friend Jo. However, 2019 looks like being incredibly exciting for me. I have a new two book deal with Transworld, my children’s series Itch is being filmed for TV in Australia in early 2019, and I’m continuing to develop my novel Mad Blood Stirring for a movie with screenwriter Jack Thorne.  Plus the film show with Mark Kermode continues on 5Live. 

“Radio 2 has been a quite wonderful experience - my happiest in radio I think - but new adventures beckon and I cannot wait to get started.”

Simon Mayo and Jo Whiley are leaving Drivetime

Simon presented the Drivetime show solo from 2001 until January this year, when a shake-up saw Jo brought in to co-host with him, which didn’t go down well with some listeners.

After she became the target of “appalling abuse” in the wake of the announcement, Simon rushed to defend her on Twitter. 

“I’ve loved working with the exceptional Jo Whiley and when the show was ‘reconfigured’ she was my first and only choice,” he wrote. 

“Some of the abuse she has had here has been appalling. Support for a show is one thing, assaulting the dignity of a warm-hearted and loyal friend is another.

“So by all means discuss what’s happening here, but let’s keep some civility. Thank you. Here endeth the lesson.”

Radio 2 has said a replacement for Simon and Jo will be announced “in the near future”.