BBC Radio Ulster celebrates its 40th birthday
BBC Radio Ulster’s presenters and friends will gather at a gala concert to celebrate the station’s 40th birthday year on Monday.
A special television documentary will also air on BBC One NI at 10.35pm on Monday looking back at the station’s history. Radio Days, narrated by Stephen Nolan, also features rare behind-the-scenes archive footage and interviews, familiar voices from Walter Love (who, along with John Bennett, has broadcast on the station since it started), Wendy Austin, Hugo Duncan, Cherrie McIlwaine and Linda McAuley to Stephen Nolan, Rigsy and Vinny Hurrell.
The birthday event will be attended by listeners and staff, with two and a half hours of music and entertainment with the Ulster Orchestra and a host of familiar voices and friends of the station.
The BBC Radio Ulster 40th Birthday Gala – which will be broadcast live from the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on Monday 14 December from 8pm – will be full of songs, stars and surprises, with music, arts and comedy all taking centre stage on the night.
Gerry Kelly and Stephen McCauley will broadcast live from the Ulster Hall between 3pm and 5pm on Monday 14 December, where they will be joined by BBC Radio Ulster presenters old and new, and other special guests for live music and memories.
Then, at 7.30pm, presenters John Bennett and Lynette Fay will come live from the red carpet as guests arrive.
Presented by Wendy Austin and John Toal, the night will have actor and author Simon Callow and broadcaster and writer Anita Robinson paying their tributes to BBC Radio Ulster on the night with Simon offering some specially chosen readings and Anita sharing her ‘selection box’ with the listeners.
Fergus Keeling, Head of Radio, BBC Northern Ireland says: “We hope what we have in store will be our way of giving our listeners something special back. They’ve joined in our birthday broadcasts, they have helped make this year special and they are the reason we do what we do. This birthday event is shaping up to be something quite special and I would like to thank our fantastic talent and great friends for taking the time to help us celebrate in this way. Most of all though, I’d like to thank our listeners old and new. This night is for them.”