BBC Radio 2 has revealed upcoming highlights on the network including the line-up for a month of Piano Room performances.
The station is the most popular in the UK based on RAJAR listening figures.
From Monday, January 29 to Friday, February 23 in Vernon Kay’s mid-morning show (Monday to Friday, 9.30am-12pm), a month of Piano Room performances return, featuring 20 artists singing live accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra from London’s BBC Maida Vale studios. Kay has the most listened to radio programme in the UK.
Each artist will perform a new song, a classic and a cover version. As well as being on BBC Sounds it will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer from later that day.
Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: “Since Vernon launched his new mid-morning show on Radio 2 in May last year, he has become a firm favourite with listeners, brightening up their days with his warm and funny show, which remains the country’s most listened to radio programme. Following his incredible achievement of raising over £6m for BBC Children in Need by completing his Ultra Ultramarathon Challenge, I know he can’t wait for this next amazing line-up for Piano Room month.”
“Playing a wide variety of songs by so many different artists, from a variety of decades and genres, on my show is one of the many joys of presenting mid-mornings on Radio 2, so I can’t wait to meet and welcome some of them to perform for a whole month in the Piano Room at the Maida Vale studios,” said Vernon Kay.
Jeff Smith, Radio 2’s head of music, said: “Radio 2 plays over 15,000 different tracks a year – giving listeners a huge range of songs to enjoy – and delivers an incredible range of live music, from intimate studio sessions to the vast crowds at our triumphant Radio 2 in the Park event in Leicester last year. The Radio 2 Piano Room month will feature a stellar selection of 20 artists from new talents such as Olivia Dean and Jalen Ngonda to established legends, such as Rod Stewart, who our listeners have loved for decades. We’re thrilled to offer artists the opportunity to be listened to and watched on the BBC by millions of fans, giving them a springboard to further success.”
We’re thrilled to offer artists the opportunity to be listened to and watched on the BBC by millions of fans, giving them a springboard to further success
Other Radio 2 highlights include Sigrid: My Neil Young Fan Story, a two-part documentary for Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
Sigrid said: “I wanted to make this programme about Neil Young because his music was such a big part of my childhood and he is still one of my favourite artists. Growing up in Norway, we had his music on the speakers at home, we listened to him in the car to the mountains and my dad would tell us all these Neil Young stories whenever he got the chance. Now that I’m 27 years old and touring the world, it is comforting to know that I can listen to Neil wherever I am – on a tour bus or in a hotel room – and still feel like I have a little piece of home with me. I've had a great time making this with some incredible guests and I'm really excited for the listeners to find out more as well.”
Sigrid performed a cover of Neil Young’s Old Man for Radio 2’s Piano Room in 2022 with the BBC Concert Orchestra. She now takes the opportunity to play a few of her favourite songs, including Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World and Cowgirl In The Sand. The performance will be available on BBC Sounds ahead of the documentary’s Radio 2 broadcast on Sunday, January 28 and February 3.
Later this month, Jo Whiley’s show features Sofa Sessions live from Maida Vale from Corinne Bailey Rae (7-9pm, January 17), The Vaccines (January 18) and Jacob Collier (January 24).
In Reggae Got Soul, Maxi Priest makes his Radio 2 presenting debut as he explores the R&B and soul roots and influences of reggae's most significant hits.
Upcoming highlights on Radio 2 include the Country 2 Country festival coverage in March, the Diana Ross: Fan’s Story programme marking the stars’s 80th birthday (March 26), and programming to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win in Brighton in April 1974.
PIANO ROOM LINE-UP
Monday, 29 January: Bruce Hornsby, performing a Don Henley cover version
Tuesday, 30 January: Beverley Knight, performing a Radiohead cover version
Wednesday, 31 January: The Libertines, performing a Love cover version
Thursday, 1 February: PP Arnold, performing a Miley Cyrus cover version
Friday, 2 February: Gabrielle, performing a Lionel Richie cover version
Monday, 5 February: Anastacia, performing a Whitesnake cover version
Tuesday, 6 February: Olivia Dean, performing a Leonard Cohen cover version
Wednesday, 7 February: Johnny Marr, performing an Iggy Pop cover version
Thursday, 8 February: Shaznay, performing a No Doubt cover version
Friday, 9 February: Rick Astley, performing an Olivia Rodrigo cover version
Monday, 12 February: Texas, performing a Charles and Eddie cover version
Tuesday, 13 February: Jalen Ngonda, performing a Beach Boys cover version
Wednesday, 14 February: Valentine's Day Special with Lisa Stansfield, performing a Lou Rawls cover version
Thursday, 15 February: Crowded House, performing a Petula Clark cover version
Friday, 16 February: Jess Glynne, performing a Fleetwood Mac cover version
Monday, 19 February: Paloma Faith, performing a Tracy Chapman cover version
Tuesday, 20 February: Delta Goodrem featuring special guest Gary Barlow, performing a Take That cover version
Wednesday, 21 February: Elbow, performing a Louis Armstrong cover version
Thursday, 22 February: Rod Stewart with Jools Holland, performing a Billie Holiday cover version
Friday, 23 February: Artist to be announced at a later date