Judge Jules budged from Radio 1 as Gilles Peterson departs

Judgement day as veterans depart to make way for new crop of specialist DJs including Skream & Benga and Toddla T

He is known to his thousands of listeners as the "Judge", but BBC Radio 1's Judge Jules is swapping his record box for a new career as a lawyer.

Judge Jules is one of a number of high-profile departures from BBC Radio 1 announced by the station on Wednesday, including Gilles Peterson, Fabio & Grooverider and Kissy Sell Out, as part of a shakeup of specialist music DJs on air late evening and overnight.

A revamped schedule, which will see the arrival of five new specialist music DJs - Skream & Benga, Toddla T, Charlie Sloth and Friction – as well as the creation of a new show, BBC Radio 1 Residency, will launch in April next year.

The changes are the first major move by new Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper to overhaul the station's DJ lineup. Cooper, the station's long-running deputy, was appointed Radio 1 controller in October after the departure of Andy Parfitt.

A legal career is an unlikely switch for a dance music DJ but Judge Jules – real name Julius O'Riordan – studied law at the London School of Economics, where he started out as a part-time DJ. Hence the nickname.

O'Riordan will become an entertainment lawyer at London media firm Sheridans. He said he would continue to DJ in his spare time.

Peterson, who is in talks with BBC Radio 6 Music about future projects, said: "I've had an amazing 13 years at Radio 1 – to be able to get away with the radical music that I've pushed out has always surprised me and I thank Radio 1 for giving me the freedom to do that. I'm looking forward to continuing my work in the BBC family some time in the future."

Cooper said: "We'd like to thank Jules, Gilles and Fabio & Grooverider for over a decade of hard work and commitment to music at Radio 1, and also to Kissy Sell Out his contribution over the last three years. All are incredibly talented and we wish them the very best for the future."

Radio 1 has come under pressure from both its commercial rivals and the BBC Trust to attract a younger audience after the average age of its listenership kept creeping up.

Cooper added: "It's important that Radio 1 continues to develop new talent and the station keeps evolving for our young listeners. These changes to our evening schedule will strengthen the range and depth of the specialist music offering on the network."

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John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

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