BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright dies aged 69

BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright dies aged 69

Tributes have been paid to Steve Wright, who has died aged 69. 

“It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright,” said his family in a statement.

Wright was a familiar presence on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades. He was also a regular Top Of The Pops presenter in the 1980s and later provided the voiceover for Top Of The Pops 2.

He was recognised in the New Year Honours with an MBE for services to radio.

Only last week, Wright was reported to be involved in the BBC Radio digital brand extensions with a show on the Radio 2 spin-off station. He was last on air on Sunday with a pre-recorded edition of Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs for Valentine’s.

After joining Radio 1, Steve Wright In The Afternoon became a mainstay of the network from 1981 to 1993. It featured his “posse” of producers and staff and was credited with introducing the ‘zoo’ format to UK radio. 

Following a brief spell at the Radio 1 Breakfast Show and a stint in the commercial sector, Wright joined Radio 2 in 1996 with a Saturday show and the launch of Sunday Love Songs, which continued on air until his death.

He returned to his favoured weekday afternoon slot, this time at Radio 2, in 1999 and was there until 2022. Following his replacement by Scott Mills, he remained on the station at weekends and for specials.

Tim Davie, BBC director general, said: “All of us at the BBC are heartbroken to hear this terribly sad news. Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades. He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners. This was deservedly recognised in the New Year Honours list with his MBE for services to radio. No-one had more energy to deliver shows that put a smile on audiences’ faces. They loved him deeply. We are thinking of Steve and his family and will miss him terribly."

Steve was a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades

Tim Davie

Helen Thomas, head of Radio 2, said: “Steve understood the connection and companionship that radio engenders better than anyone, and we all loved him for it. He was a consummate professional whose attention to detail was always second to none, and he made his guests laugh, he was fair, and he wanted to showcase them and their work in the best possible light, bringing brilliant stories to our listeners.

"Steve’s afternoon show was an institution that began on Radio 1 and later moved over to Radio 2 where it was broadcast for 23 years. He believed in the BBC passionately during his career that spanned for more than four decades, and he was always up for pursuing new ideas. He brought joy to millions of listeners with his Sunday Love Songs as well as the legendary Pick of the Pops, which he took on last year and was having fun experimenting with, alongside a host of specials and new BBC Sounds formats which he loved doing.”

Thomas added: "Steve was the first presenter I ever produced more than 20 years ago, and I remember the pure amazement I felt, sitting opposite this legendary broadcaster whose shows I had listened to and marvelled at whilst growing up in Hull. For all of us at Radio 2, he was a wonderful colleague and a friend with his excellent sense of humour, generosity with his time, and endless wise words. We were lucky to have him with us for all these decades, and we will miss his talent and his friendship terribly.”

Lorna Clarke, director of BBC Music, added: “Steve was an extraordinary broadcaster – someone audiences loved, and many of us looked up to. He loved radio, and he loved the BBC, but most of all… he loved his audience. From Radio 1 to Radio 2, he was with us for more than four decades, and brought so much joy to our airwaves, whatever he was up to. We were privileged to have him with us for all these years."


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