Michael Ball has paid tribute to Steve Wright, calling his legacy “immeasurable”, as he took over the the late DJ’s Sunday Love Songs programme on BBC Radio 2.

Ball, a West End star who has presented on Radio 2 since 2008, was named as the show’s new host after Wright died in February.

The 61-year-old said Wright was “missed”, adding: “He created Love Songs, and I am so, so proud to be carrying the baton for him into the future.”

Wright joined the BBC in the 1970s, and went on to host shows on Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades. He also presented Top of the Pops on BBC One.

The death of the beloved presenter at the age of 69 led to an outpouring of tributes across the BBC and beyond.

Ball was among those paying tribute at the time, calling the news “unbelievably sad and shocking”, and calling Wright “an inspiration, a cheerleader and a lovely man”.

During the show – which is now called Love Songs with Michael Ball – the presenter revealed that the last song he played would be a tribute to Wright.

The final song on the weekly show is known as the “last dance”. Ball said that this Sunday, it would be something “very special”, and one of Wright’s favourites.

“So in memory of Steve, I want you to give someone a hug. Make that time for it now.

“Your partner, your friend, (your) child, parent, even your pet.

“And if you’re on your own right now, I’m embracing you with a virtual hug.

“And I want to take this opportunity to thank Steve, his legacy on Radio 2 is immeasurable.”

He went on to play the song Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell, a song Wright regularly used as background music for his show.

Ball said he hoped audiences would “take a moment and maybe have a little dance along with me”.

Sunday Love Songs was a show that was dear to Wright’s heart.

After his 15-year stint on Radio 1 ended, he worked in commercial radio for a short while but then joined Radio 2 as part of the weekend line-up and launched Sunday Love Songs in 1996.

He developed the format himself as a programme where he could read out listener emails and letters exactly as they were written.

When he was subsequently given the Radio 2 afternoon show – which he hosted for 23 years – he agreed a special deal that allowed him to also present Sunday Love Songs each week. And even when he was replaced by Scott Mills on the afternoon show in 2022, he again continued his Sunday stint until the day before his death.

Ball now hosts the show on Sundays from 09:00 to 11:00.

Source link