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Paddy McGuinness in, Mark Radcliffe out in post-Steve Wright Radio 2 schedule shake up

BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds has announced a host of new programming and specials, including the new hosts of Sunday morning shows following the passing of Steve Wright.

Stepping into Michael Ball’s 11am-1pm Sunday slot, Paddy McGuinness will host a new Sunday show, while Ball will move to the earlier, 9-11am slot. McGuinness, well known for the iconic shows Top Gear, Question of Sport and Take Me Out also presented a Sunday morning show on Bauer City 1 from 2014-2017. He will present the new show from Salford as part of the BBC’s Across the UK plans.

Mcguinness made his Radio 2 debut last year when covering the pop quiz ‘Ten to the Top’ while Vernon Kay was running his Ultra ULTRA Marathon, which raised over £6 million for BBC Children in Need. He has also recently been sitting in for Rylan on Saturday afternoons, and presented two shows on Good Friday 29 March and Easter Monday 1 April, from 4-7pm.

McGuinness said: “I’ve loved keeping Rylan’s seat warm on Saturday afternoons and returning to the airwaves over Easter. To be given my very own regular show on the legendary Radio 2 is a dream come true.”

Today, Radio 2 will also be launching an open tender process, seeking proposals from suppliers to produce the two Sunday titles in London and Salford.

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2 says: “Although these are changes that we’d rather not be making, given the circumstances, I’m delighted to welcome Paddy and Michael to their new Sunday slots on Radio 2. I’m looking forward to Michael’s new earlier show, where he’ll entertain his ‘lovelies’ as he’s always done, and Paddy made a huge impression on our listeners when he sat in for Rylan as well as with his Easter specials.”

Elsewhere in the new schedules, Mark Radcliffe has announced he will be hanging up his headphones and pausing his radio work during April and May.

Radcliffe said: “Having been on the radio since the late industrial revolution I’ve decided to have a bit of time off. I’m getting on a bit now, and there are some things I want to do whilst I’m still (relatively) fit and active. So I’ll be taking April and May off, if that’s alright with you lot.

“Stuart Maconie will be flying solo on the Radcliffe & Maconie Show on 6 Music, and my chum Shaun Keaveny will mind the Radio 2 Folk Show in my absence.”

Radcliffe added that the decision was not related to his 2018 cancer scare: “This break has nothing to do with the health problems I’ve had over the last few years,” he said. “I am clear of cancer and feeling great, so please don’t read anything sinister into it. I’m just going to do some stuff I want to do, and I’ll be back in early June. Whether you want me or not! À bientôt.”

Following her Christmas Day special, Yorkshire chanteuse Jane McDonald is back in the Radio 2 presenter seat to sparkle showbiz glitter across the UK from 4-7pm on the two May Bank Holidays, Monday 6 and Monday 27. Listeners can expect to hear more of the star’s hilarious stories from her years as one of the UK’s leading entertainers. She will also be sharing her views on what makes a good barbecue, her gardening tips, memories from her travels, her (often failed) attempts at cooking… Jane has a story for everything.

She will also be speaking to listeners and there may be a call or two from her celebrity friends. All of this plus a playlist packed with feel-good pop hits from the 60s to the present day, to include Madonna, Diana Ross, Steps, Whitney Houston and more, handpicked by Jane so she can belt ‘em out around the studio. The shows will be produced by Mostest Productions.

McDonald said: “I had a wonderful time presenting on Radio 2 on Christmas Day so it’s an absolute pleasure to return and spend some more time with the lovely listeners during the (hopefully sunny!) May Bank Holidays. I can’t wait to hear your springtime stories and play some of my favourite tunes.”

There are also new shows and specials for Bob Harris, who will celebrate 25 years of hosting The Country Show on April 11, Romesh Ranganathan, who takes over Saturday monrings later this month, Beverley Knight filling in for Elaine Page, and a Sounds of Soul Bank Holiday Special with Tony Blackburn.

BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most listened to radio station, with a weekly audience of 13.3 million (RAJAR Q4, 2023).The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show is most listened to Breakfast show in the UK with an audience of 6.6 million (RAJAR Q4, 2023).The network’s other presenters include Zoe Ball, Rob Beckett, OJ Borg, Rev. Kate Bottley, Rylan, Fearne Cotton, Sara Cox, Jamie Cullum, Gary Davies, Paul Gambaccini, Angela Griffin, Vernon Kay, Cerys Matthews, Scott Mills, Jason Mohammad, Trevor Nelson, Dermot O’Leary, DJ Spoony, Liza Tarbuck, Jeremy Vine, Michelle Visage, Johnnie Walker, Jo Whiley, Phil Williams and Owain Wyn Evans.

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