BBC Radio 2 announces presenter and programme highlights

Owain Wyn Evans will host the all new Early Breakfast Show (Monday to Friday, 4am-6.30am), and the new live show will come from Wales. This is the first Radio 2 weekday programme to move out of London and forms part of the BBC’s Across The UK plans, as announced by the Director General in 2021, allowing the BBC to better reflect, represent and serve all parts of the country.

The show will be broadcast from the BBC Cymru Wales broadcast centre in Cardiff, and the tender opens today for production companies to pitch for the show, which will launch on air in January 2023.

Owain says: “When I asked my parents for a pair of turntables and a mixing desk from a DJ shop in Llanelli when I was 13 I never allowed myself to dream that one day I’d have my own show on Radio 2! I can’t wait to help kick start the day on Early Breakfast live from Cardiff. Bore da dahlings as we say in Wales!”

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, says: “I’d like to welcome Owain to the Radio 2 family. His deep connection with Wales is obvious and I’m delighted he will be broadcasting live from Cardiff every weekday morning. His warmth and wit make him the perfect host to set up the day for our listeners right across the country, who have clearly and warmly taken him to their hearts each time he has presented in this slot.”

Owain has worked as a television and radio presenter for over 20 years, and began his broadcasting career at the age of 18 as a children’s news presenter at BBC Wales, before moving on to become a weather presenter for BBC Look North (Yorkshire), BBC North West Tonight and BBC Breakfast. Having been a familiar voice on Radio Cymru, he went on to present radio shows for a number of BBC Local Radio stations including Radio York, Radio Leeds and Radio Manchester. In December 2020 Evans hosted a number of ‘in conversation with’ shows for BBC Sounds in which he interviewed stars including Little Mix, Kylie Minogue and Dolly Parton.

A keen drummer since the age of seven, Owain shot to international fame when, during lockdown in 2020, he produced a video of himself drumming to the BBC News theme tune, which was viewed tens of millions of times around the globe. This was the springboard for his incredible record-breaking 24-hour Drumathon for Children In Need, which raised over £3.8m, making it the most successful 24-hour challenge in the 41-year history of BBC Children In Need.

Rhuanedd Richards, Director of BBC Cymru Wales says: “I’m delighted that Radio 2 listeners will be starting their weekdays in Owain’s company – live every weekday from BBC Wales’ home in Cardiff’s Central Square. Having started his career as a presenter here in Wales, it’s wonderful news that he’ll be taking to the airwaves from Cardiff and waking listeners across the UK. Croeso Owain!”

Owain takes over from Vanessa Feltz, who stepped down from presenting the Early Morning Breakfast show in July this year.

Scott Mills will launch his new weekday afternoon show on Radio 2 on Monday 31 October, from 2pm-4pm. He’ll be saying “love you, hi” to everyone with music and laughs to get listeners through the afternoon, taking their calls and messages and, as friend to the stars, who knows who else might pop-up! A BBC Audio production.

Scott says: “A brand new era begins for me at my new home, BBC Radio 2. In an attempt to scare me even more, the bosses have decided my very first show is on Halloween! Join me every day for the best music and let’s switch off from the world for a couple of hours and have a laugh.”

In October, as the BBC celebrates its 100th anniversary (18 October), Radio 2 celebrates with the following shows:

There’s a new three-part run – and sixth series since 2016 – of Barry Humphries’ Forgotten Musical Masterpieces on 2, 9 and 16 October, available now as a boxset on BBC Sounds. In this culturally thrilling vintage music show, the programmes celebrate the centenary of the BBC with Barry’s very own selection of thought-provoking and witty songs by artists who made their name during the earliest days of British broadcasting.

Going back to the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the music choices include titles such as Twiddling with the Knobs On The Radio by Dorrie Dene; Are You Having Any Fun? by Dick Bentley, No One To Read Out The News: A BBC Tragedy and We’re Frightfully BBC by the Western Brothers, What it Feels Like To Broadcast by Gert & Daisy, All For Ten Shillings A Year (about the Licence Fee) and We Can’t Let You Broadcast That! by Norman Long, Don’t Let’s Sing About The War by Ronald Frankau and The Broken Record by Henry Hall. A Strauss House production.

Barry Humphries says: “In this three-part series I’m celebrating the centenary of the BBC, an institution that’s older even than me! When I sit in front of a BBC microphone, I’m instantly transported back, to my childhood, when I first heard the wonderful music and funny voices, coming out of my parents’ radio. That’s how I discovered that some people actually had jobs as entertainers.

“It’s great to be back on BBC Radio 2. Of all the things I do, speaking to others via the ‘wizardry of wireless’ is my absolute favourite! This autumn, listeners to Radio 2 are in for a treat. I’ll be presenting my personal selection of the most thought-provoking and entertaining songs by artists, who became famous during the earliest days of radio.”

In the first of a new occasional series, Radio 2 All Stars, Dermot O’Leary taps into the musical memories and broadcast recollections of some of the incredible multigenerational Radio 2 presenter line-up. In this first instalment, he meets three DJs from across the network’s line-up – Tony Blackburn, Zoe Ball and Rylan – who discuss a range of topics including their first encounters with the BBC (Saturday 15 October).

Tony talks about life on Radio Caroline and his move to Radio 1 – including a roadshow where the tide came in so people ended up in the sea! Zoe reminisces about Radio 1 in Ibiza where she first met Fatboy Slim, a 13-hour round trip in a van to see a Super Furry Animals gig the night before a breakfast show, and being in the BBC bar with her dad and The Two Ronnies. Rylan talks about his new found love of radio – something that he never listened to when growing up – once he joined Radio 2, his love of Mr Blobby and getting to do karaoke on air with his hero, Craig David.

An Ora et Labora production.
And as the BBC celebrates 100 years since receiving its first licence, Radio 2 marks other iconic firsts:

For National Album Day (Saturday 15 October) the station will mark the music debuts of artists as they released their first albums with a special chart produced exclusively by the Official Charts Company in partnership with the BPI. Steve Wright will reveal the Official Top 40 biggest (sales and streams) all-time debut albums to be released in the UK since records began in 1956. He will be counting down from 20 to the No. 1 album – with the programme available on BBC Sounds from that morning – and the countdown from No. 40 to 21 will be available on BBC Sounds from Saturday 8 October.

A 7digital production.

Steve says: “I’m thrilled to mark this year’s National Album Day on BBC Radio 2 by playing top tunes from some awesome music debuts. The chart represents the incredible embryonic starts to magnificent pop careers. If you like albums you will love this flashback in time.”

Last weekend, Sounds Of The 80s hosted by Gary Davies celebrated the 40th anniversary of Madonna’s first single, Everybody (released in the US on 6 October, 1982). The song spent 17 weeks at No. 3 on the US Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart and reached No. 7 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles Chart. Although the track was never released as a single in the UK, Madonna promoted the song in February 1983 at nightclubs including Heaven and Camden Palace in London and the Haçienda in Manchester (now available on BBC Sounds).

A Listen production.

As the Beatles celebrate the 60th anniversary of the release of their first single, Love Me Do (5 October), Radio 2 delves into the archive to celebrate the UK’s most famous band. These programmes are now available as a boxset on BBC Sounds – all are BBC Audio productions:

A Year in The Life: 1962 – which narrates the breakthrough year for the band via the recollections of those who knew and worked alongside them in 1962, narrated by Liverpool contemporary Roger McGough with contributors including Bill Harry, editor of Merseybeat, Klaus Voorman (close friend from Hamburg and the artist responsible for Revolver’s sleeve), their original drummer Pete Best, Joe Brown and Mike Berry who shared bills with the group shortly before their national fame, Andy White, the studio session drummer who played on Love Me Do, and publicist Tony Calder who promoted their first single (first broadcast in 2012).

The Beatles: Tracks Of My Years – Ken Bruce presents the Fab Four’s favourites tracks as chosen by Celia Imrie, Preeya Kalidas, Ricky Gervais, Priscilla Presley, Sir Elton John and Gemma Arterton.

The Beatles At The BBC – a rare chance to hear The Beatles in 1963 and 1964, featuring extracts from Pop Go The Beatles, Public Ear, From Us To You, The Alan Freeman Show, and Saturday Club, to create a revealing portrait of how British audiences would have originally heard the Beatles, the way they presented themselves and the impressions that they left. The programme also has interviews with the group and a glimpse behind the scenes as they attempt to record I Feel Fine for a Saturday Club session (first broadcast in 2013).

On 14 November the UK Singles Chart celebrates its 70th birthday. To mark this, the Official Charts Company has created a chart featuring the most streamed song released in each year since the inception of the chart back in 1952. It will be a fascinating insight into how we now judge the music of the past.

The whole chart will be available from Friday 4 November as a BBC Sounds collection called The UK’s Official Most Streamed Songs. Radio 2 will also broadcast each decade’s charts from 1960-1999 during the Sounds Of The 60s/70s/80s/90s shows on Saturday and Sunday 11 and 12 November, alongside a one-off programme on BBC Sounds – Most Streamed Songs of the 50s – to showcase the songs from 1952-1959, presented by Paul Gambaccini (BBC Audio production).

Meanwhile BBC Radio 1 will broadcast the most streamed songs released from 2000-2022, presented by Jack Saunders (BBC Audio production). Sounds Of The 60s with Tony Blackburn is a 7digital production.

Sounds of the 70s with Johnnie Walker and Sounds Of The 80s with Gary Davies are Listen productions.

Sounds Of The 90s with Fearne Cotton is a Somethin’ Else production.
Also to mark the 70th anniversary of the UK Singles Chart, Steve Wright will present The Listener’s Charts available on BBC Sounds from Friday 4 November. He’ll be telling the story of the UK’s affinity with the charts over the last seven decades, looking at the part they played in our childhoods and how friends and family would gather round the radio to listen. Following a request for stories on Jeremy Vine’s show, listeners have sent in their special recollections about, for example, the big chart battles between the likes of The Beatles and Rolling Stones, Blur and Oasis, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Victoria Beckham.

A 7digital production.

Further Radio 2 highlights:

This year’s Radio 2 Gala performance in aid of BBC Children In Need is Frozen The Musical. It takes place on Sunday 6 November at London’s Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. At the end of the show, Radio 2 presenter Sara Cox will be joined on stage by Pudsey, with Radio 2 presenters also in the audience watching the show. For tickets, visit

Disney’s multi-award winning musical brings Elsa and Anna’s story to the stage with incredible special effects, jaw-dropping scenery, and all the songs you know and love, starring Samantha Barks as Elsa. Even the biggest Frozen fans will be in for some surprises, as the production features brand-new music from Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, writers of the unforgettable Let It Go.

In The Making of… Spiceworld, 25 Years on from the release of one of the defining albums of the 90s Fearne Cotton looks at how it was made, its impact at the time and what it means now in 2022. She’ll be speaking to some of those involved in making the album and people it’s influenced during that time. Available as part of a Spice Girls Collection on BBC Sounds from 4 October, and hear it in Sounds Of The 90s (Radio 2, 11pm on Saturday 5 November).

A Somethin’ Else Production.

Radio 2 broadcasts (8 October) a newly extended version of Terry Wogan: In His Own Words which first aired in April this year, 50 years after Terry broadcast his first ever breakfast show on the BBC in 1972.

The programme centres on a rare, intimate and – before it went out this year – previously unheard interview with Terry, recorded at the height of his fame in the 1980s following an outside broadcast in Brighton.

The recording sat untouched in a dusty BBC vault for decades. Hosted by Zoe Ball, this is Terry – in his own words – telling his own story and take on his life and career, with contributions from Dame Joanna Lumley, Dallas star Patrick Duffy, Gaby Roslin, Claudia Winkleman, Fearne Cotton, Scott Mills, Ken Bruce, Dermot O’Leary, Chris Moyles, Greg James and Michael Ball.

This extended version includes more from Terry’s in-depth conversation, longer clips from the programme in Brighton and extra contributions from former BBC Director General Greg Dyke, Blankety Blank guest Lorraine Chase and excerpts from his successor Chris Evans, paying tribute at the Westminster Abbey Service Of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Sir Terry Wogan in September 2016. A BBC Audio production.

BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most listened to radio station, with a weekly audience of 14.53 million (RAJAR Q2, 2022), and won Station Of The Year at the Music Week 2021 awards.

The network’s presenters include Michael Ball, Zoe Ball, Rob Beckett, Tony Blackburn, OJ Borg, Rev. Kate Bottley, Ken Bruce, Rylan, Fearne Cotton, Sara Cox, Jamie Cullum, Gary Davies, Paul Gambaccini, Angela Griffin, Bob Harris, Cerys Matthews, Jason Mohammad, Trevor Nelson, Dermot O’Leary, Elaine Paige, DJ Spoony, Mark Radcliffe, Liza Tarbuck, Jeremy Vine, Michelle Visage, Johnnie Walker, Jo Whiley, Claudia Winkleman and Steve Wright.

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