A special radio play has been made about the creation of Classic FM, which will be broadcast during a week of programmes to mark the station’s 25th birthday.
Starring impressionist Jon Culshaw as Classic FM co-founder and launch Programme Director Michael Bukht, the music-based play has been commissioned to air during celebrations to look back at the station’s early days in 1992.
“The Pazza Factor: the story of the birth of Classic FM” will go out on Tuesday 5th September 8-10pm. It’s been directed by BBC Radio comedy legend Bill Dare, who is the producer of Dead Ringers, The Now Show and many other successful programmes. The play has been written by Sean Grundy and Cara Jennings. As well as Jon Culshaw, it stars Duncan Wisbey as Ralph Bernard and Kate O’Sullivan as Margaret Thatcher.
Elsewhere in the schedule during the first week of September, Classic FM will be broadcasting live from Dumfries House in East Ayrshire on the evening before the station’s birthday, with a special recital in the presence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Charles and Camilla will see performances from Classic FM presenters Aled Jones and Myleene Klass, among others.
On the night of the 25th anniversary itself – Thursday 7th September – Classic FM has a birthday concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which will include the world premiere of a piece by 23 year old Dani Howard, one of seven composers commissioned by the station to write music for the 25th birthday.
Earlier in the day, the station broadcasts from across the country. Breakfast with Tim Lihoreau comes from Global’s studios in Glasgow – and he’ll be joined by launch presenter Nick Bailey who returns to read the news bulletins. John Suchet on mid mornings is also live from Glasgow, while Anne-Marie Minhall at lunchtime broadcasts from the radio group’s Liverpool studios. John Brunning is then live from backstage at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool from 5pm with build-up to the evening concert.
If you can’t wait until next month, you can listen to some memories of the launch of Classic FM in David Lloyd’s Conversations episode with Ralph Bernard: