Michael Ball to host Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio 2 | Radio 2

Michael Ball will present a new Sunday Love Songs show on BBC Radio 2 after the death of Steve Wright earlier this year.

Ball, who presents on Sundays from 11am-1pm, will host Love Songs with Michael Ball from 9-11am from June.

He said: “Steve made Love Songs ‘appointment to listen’ radio. I’m beyond excited and more than a little nervous to be tasked with the chance to continue with his extraordinary legacy.

“Beautiful, moving, relaxing and uplifting music to lift the soul on a Sunday morning, coupled with the stories, suggestions, requests and precious memories from you, the listener, will ensure that this won’t be just MY show, but OUR show.

“I hope you will join us as we continue to share the love.”

Wright was the longtime host of the Love Songs show, which has been presented by Nicki Chapman since Wright’s death in February at the age of 69.

Wright was a legendary presenter who has been credited with helping “to redefine the role of a disc jockey when he established his BBC Radio 1 afternoon show in the 1980s”.

Steve Wright was credited with helping to redefine the role of a disc jockey. Photograph: Ian West/PA

He went on to front the Radio 1 Breakfast Show from 1994 to 1995, enjoyed a stint in commercial radio, before joining BBC Radio 2 in 1996 to host Steve Wright’s Saturday Show and Sunday Love Songs. In 1999, he also recreated Steve Wright in the Afternoon, featuring celebrity interviews, show business news and “factoids” trivia.

In September 2022, Wright signed off from his final Radio 2 show. He played out with Queen’s Radio Ga Ga and its final lyrics: “You had your time, you had the power, you’ve yet to have your finest hour.” As the music faded, Wright said: “Those are the closing moments of Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio 2.”

Ball, 60, is an award-winning singer and actor who lives in London. He made his West End debut in Les Misérables in 1985 and went on to star in Aspects of Love and The Phantom of the Opera. In 1989 he had a hit single with Love Changes Everything, and has recorded several albums over the decades. He won Olivier awards in 2008 and 2013 for performances in Hairspray and Sweeney Todd.

On Tuesday, BBC Radio 2 also announced that the Top Gear star Paddy McGuinness will host a new Sunday show from 11am-1pm from June when Ball moves to the earlier time. McGuinness will broadcast the show from Salford.