Steve Wright in the Afternoon isn’t ending – it’s just on a break

Steve Wright has issued a statement ahead of his last BBC Radio 2 afternoon show but leaves us with a hint that the big show will return.

In a curious line, Steve said “In advance of our last Steve Wright in the Afternoon for a while” suggesting the show is taking a break rather than going for good.

Head of Radio 2, Helen Thomas, has hired Scott Mills from BBC Radio 1 to host the afternoon slot, but we can only assume Steve still has time left on his contract, in which he’ll continue to host Sunday Love Songs and some new podcasts.

Once Steve is free of BBC commitments – it’s fair to say the return of SWITA is indeed a Factoid.

There are a few places the big show would fit, including, but not limited to, Virgin Radio, Greatest Hits Radio or even Smooth.

But is it News, Bauer or Global who has signed him up, post-BBC? There will certainly be some talky bitz on the situation over the coming months.

Steve also adds: “I’d like also to clear something up. I’m not retiring!!! I repeat, I am NOT retiring!!!” (with a G no less).

Here’s the statement in full:

“I know that we’re all going through a bad time at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind if I just say a few words to tell you how much I appreciate you listening to our little show.

In advance of our last SWITA show for a while, I just wanted to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to listen at any time over the last 23 years. I personally would like to say what a privilege it’s been bringing you great choons, conversation, information, entertainment, high humour and of course great guests.

I know I’ve been extremely lucky to do this work and have never taken it for granted.

Over the years, I’ve tried to evolve the programme – always updating and reinventing while hopefully keeping it topical, relatable and fun. And I’m so glad that a lot of people have appreciated our eccentric and surreal sense of humour.

Thank you to all the listeners who have been vocal on the socials in recent times with words of either support, or with comments like, “it’s about time, mate!”, and can I personally say thank you to all the people in the entertainment and music industries – that’s the musicians, the comedians, the actors, sports people, politicians, Prime Ministers, royalty, experts and anybody else who’s taken the risk of appearing.

Thank you also to my current radio colleagues, who are all beyond fabulous, and a huge mega thanks to our show contributors including AJ Jingles, the many voices of Lewis McLeod and Jon Culshaw, the medical insight of Dr H (Hilary Jones), Richard Easter, BBC News reporters, correspondents, experts and analysts, and so many, many others.

Turning to my brilliant co-hosts, I can’t say thank you enough to the wonderful Janey Lee Grace, the consummate broadcaster Tim Smith, and to Bobbie Pryor, the traffic reporter and co-host that always brings stimulating conversation to the table.

To our current producers – Anthony, Andy and Paul – thank you for your reliable, diligent and inspirational hard work. It’s you guys that have kept the show on the road day after day. And to Tom, our celebrity booker – again, the best in the business.

Next shout out to all the lovely newsreaders and sports reporters I’ve had the good fortune to work with on the programme, and the long suffering and wonderful studio managers who frequently put up with me shouting “Come on, cranky cranky!” (That’s radio speak for “can we turn it up?”) (“Peaking 6 and a half please!”) and who, despite their better judgement, agreed to allow me to EQ every single song. I know you’re only humouring me – and I love you for it.

We started this particular series of SWITA on Radio 2 in 1999. I’d been presenting on Talk Radio and hosting a series of programmes for the then GWR Group.

When we started at Radio 2, the concept then was to do BBC public service broadcasting but delivered in a dynamic, entertaining way. After the initial shows started, we eventually found our feet. Suddenly in came the guests, and we started to attract an audience of 7 million plus. Gradually we introduced a smattering of satirical humour, the atmosphere of the studio team, threw in a tinge of irony and a soupcon of attitude (I have no idea what that last sentence means but it sounds good). The “show brands” within the “brands” came later – Factoids, the Talky Bitz, Serious Jockin’, etc etc.

Thank you from me and the team to successive Radio 2 managements, and of course the mighty BBC, in letting us develop and experiment.

In the meantime, I fully understand that it’s not possible to continue this programme, but on the other hand I’m grateful that this show has endured for so long.

I’d like also to clear something up. I’m not retiring!!! I repeat, I am NOT retiring!!!

I am taking a break from daytime radio and will continue at Radio 2. I’ll be going a tad digital with a podcast, Serious Jockin’ will still be there on BBC Sounds, and Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs continues on Radio 2 every weekend.

Plus I’m hosting a special programme on Radio 2 on National Album Day, and in addition I’m presenting a whole lot of festive specials over Christmas.

Obviously I won’t be quite as busy during weekdays, and will take the opportunity to have some lunch and do some of the other work I’m lucky enough to be offered – TV, live hosting and gigs. There is no truth in the rumour I’m planning to open my own artisan bakery, and I’ve turned down twice the chance to open my own nail bar. So it’s all good.

Please do listen to Scott Mills and Sara Cox when they take over afternoons. They are both brilliant broadcasters and I truly wish them well when they start.

So now after all that self indulgence, may I just leave you with this important piece of advice?

“NEVER! cut in on dancing bears”.

Listen to Steve’s final SWITA (for a while) on BBC Radio 2, Friday from 2, live till 5.

Posted on Thursday, September 29th, 2022 at 8:19 pm by Roy Martin

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