BBC Radio 2 has announced details of special programming to mark its 50th birthday, which takes place on Saturday, September 30.
The celebratory programme includes a Friday Night Is Music Night concert with songs and anecdotes from the last five decades, The Listener’s Stories where the station’s audience share their memories, four episodes of Johnnie Walker’s Long Players about the music of 1967, and documentaries on pirate radio and on The Light Programme, which both paved the way for BBC Radio 2.
Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park (September 10), will kick off the festivities, featuring performances from Take That, Blondie, James Blunt, Emeli Sandé, Rick Astley, Seth Lakeman & Wildwood Kin, Stereophonics, and special guest Shania Twain.
The station has also commissioned Bryan Adams for a series of portraits of its current presenters, and listeners will get a sneak peek behind the scenes of this photoshoot in Radio 2: A Birthday Portrait.
Adams commented: “It was an honour to be asked by BBC Radio 2 to take pictures of the presenters to celebrate their 50th anniversary. You couldn't fail with such an eclectic mix of personalities, some of whom I've known for many years. As days at work go, it was a good one.”
Lewis Carnie, head of Radio 2, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Radio 2’s heritage. With its unique mix of much-loved DJs - from Chris Evans to Sir Jimmy Young, Desmond Carrington to the radio king of them all, Sir Terry Wogan - and distinctive medley of music, documentaries and current affairs, it has been a part of millions of people’s lives for half a century. And I’m thrilled to be inviting listeners to take part and share in our 50th birthday celebrations with shows that share their memories too.”
Also launched in 1967, BBC Radio 1 celebrates its anniversary on the same day, with plans in place to launch a three-day digital pop-up station, Radio 1 Vintage, commemorating some of its most famous presenters and programmes, while a special Live Lounge month will see numerous contemporary stars celebrate the music of the last five decades.
On September 30, Radio 2 presenter Tony Blackburn will re-create live his Radio 1 Breakfast show, the programme that launched that station on the same day as Radio 2.