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Steve Wright (DJ)

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Steve Wright
Wright in the BBC Radio 1 studio
Stephen Richard Wright

(1954-08-26)26 August 1954
Greenwich, London, England
Died12 February 2024(2024-02-12) (aged 69)
Marylebone, London, England
Occupation(s)Radio personality, disc jockey
Years active1976–2024
Known forSteve Wright in the Afternoon
The Radio 1 Breakfast Show
Steve Wright's Saturday Show
Sunday Love Songs
Pick of the Pops
Cyndi Robinson
(m. 1985; div. 1999)
CountryUnited Kingdom

Stephen Richard Wright MBE (26 August 1954 – 12 February 2024) was an English disc jockey, radio personality, and occasional television presenter, credited with introducing the morning zoo format to British radio with a humorous collection of personalities. He presented Steve Wright in the Afternoon for 12 years on BBC Radio 1 and 23 years on BBC Radio 2, two of the BBC's national radio stations. He continued to present his Sunday Love Songs on Radio 2 until his death and, in October 2023, he took over as the host of the long-running Pick of the Pops chart show. On BBC Television, Wright hosted Home Truths, The Steve Wright People Show, Auntie's TV Favourites, Top of the Pops and TOTP2.[1]

Wright won Best DJ of the Year, as voted by the Daily Mirror Readers Poll and by Smash Hits in 1994. In 1998, he was awarded TRIC Personality of the Year for his radio programmes. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2024 New Year Honours for services to radio.

Early life and career


Stephen Richard Wright was born on 26 August 1954 in Greenwich, to Richard and June [2] and grew up in New Cross, in South London. He had a brother, Laurence.[3] Their father, Richard, managed the Burton's store in Trafalgar Square.[3]

Wright was educated at Eastwood High School for Boys, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex, where he broadcast a nascent radio show over the speaker system from the stock cupboard. He originally joined the BBC staff in the early 1970s working as a returns clerk in the Gramophone Library in Egton House, opposite Broadcasting House in London, before leaving to start broadcasting in 1976 at Thames Valley Radio Radio 210 in Reading, Berkshire. In 1979, Wright got his big break at Radio Luxembourg, where he presented his own nightly show.[4]

BBC Radio 1


Wright joined BBC Radio 1 on 5 January 1980,[5] taking over a Saturday evening slot before moving to Saturday mornings later that year.

Steve Wright in the Afternoon


Wright moved to daytime radio with Steve Wright in the Afternoon in 1981, later introducing the zoo format to the UK.[6]

The first run of Steve Wright in the Afternoon was from 1981 to 1993 on BBC Radio 1. The show had a cast of telephone characters created and performed by Gavin McCoy, Peter Dickson, Richard Easter and Phil Cornwell. Like his mentor, Kenny Everett, Wright went out of his way to be irreverent, including stories taken from the Weekly World News. The success led to a hit single, I'll Be Back, released under the name Arnee and the Terminaters.[7] In later years, the style changed, dumping most of the characters and instead having a "zoo" format with spoof guests and comedy sketches. A "posse" of producers and radio staff joined in. Another regular character was "Mr Angry from Purley".[8]

The Smiths' 1986 hit single "Panic" was inspired by Wright playing "I'm Your Man" by Wham! following a news bulletin about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Johnny Marr and Morrissey were listening and were disturbed by the contrast in tone. The song's lyrics about the event finished, "Hang the DJ" and this slogan appeared on a promotional T-shirt above a picture of Wright.[9] The DJ took it well and bought one of the T-shirts.[10]

Radio 1 Breakfast


Wright and his Posse moved to The Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1994. He resigned from the Breakfast Show in 1995 due to differences with the BBC Radio 1 management and a fall in ratings. This coincided with many of the more established DJs leaving, or being sacked, around this time.[11]

Commercial radio


Wright was picked up by the new station Talk Radio in 1995, where he presented a Saturday morning show.[12] He also presented a Sunday morning show, which was heard on a number of GWR radio stations around the UK.

BBC World Service


Wright joined the BBC World Service on 5 January 1999, presenting a 1-hour programme, Wright Around The World.[13] This show ran every Saturday afternoon until the final show on 25 October 2003.[14] This meant that he was now broadcasting on BBC Radio for seven days a week.

BBC Radio 2


Wright joined BBC Radio 2 in March 1996, where he began presenting Steve Wright's Saturday Show (1996–1999), Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs (1996–2024, his death), and his afternoon show beginning in July 1999 until September 2022. In 2006, Wright was said to earn £440,000 a year at Radio 2.[15] In 2018–2019, Wright's salary was between £465,000 and £469,000, making him the BBC's fifth-highest-earning presenter. He had taken an £85,000 pay cut from the year before, however, as part of an effort to equalise male and female pay.[16]

Steve Wright in the Afternoon


In mid-1999 following a shake-up at Radio 2, Steve Wright in the Afternoon was revived, with Wright taking over this slot from Ed Stewart. Jonathan Ross took over Wright's Saturday morning slot.[17]

Wright presented his Radio 2 version of Steve Wright in the Afternoon on weekday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm, alongside Tim Smith and Janey Lee Grace, who have both also occasionally appeared as relief presenters on the station, as well as traffic reporter Bobbie Pryor. Another frequent contributor, "The Old Woman", was played by Joyce Frost who died in November 2016.[18] Smith and Wright would regularly present "factoids", described as "gleaming nuggets of information so incredible that they really shouldn't be true, but are!"[19][20]

On 1 July 2022, Wright announced that the show would end in September, to be replaced by a new show with Scott Mills. Wright would remain on Radio 2 to continue hosting Sunday Love Songs, along with a new Serious Jockin' podcast, seasonal specials and other projects.[21] The final show was broadcast on 30 September 2022, with Wright playing "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen as his last record.[22]

Sunday Love Songs


Sunday Love Songs, which Wright presented solo on Sunday mornings on Radio 2 from 31 March 1996 until 11 February 2024, the day before his death, featured a blend of classic love songs, dedications and real-life romance stories. In 2013, the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee criticised the show for breaches of guidelines on accuracy and audience interaction, after media reporting revealed that the show was in fact recorded on Fridays.[23]

Wright's final broadcast, on the day before his death, but recorded two days earlier, was a special Valentine's Day edition of this show.[24] The following week, a special programme aired, hosted by Liza Tarbuck, reading out messages from people who had a dedication from Wright over the last 28 years of Sunday Love Songs, and playing a selection of Wright's favourite tracks.[25] The show continued with temporary host Nicki Chapman from 25 February, and it was announced that Michael Ball would be taking over the programme on 2 June 2024.[26][27]

Pick of the Pops


On 10 August 2023, it was announced that Wright would become the new host of Pick of the Pops, from 14 October 2023, replacing Paul Gambaccini.[28] He presented the show until 10 February 2024. On 15 April, it was announced that Mark Goodier would take over the show in July.

Career outside radio


From 1980 to 1989, Wright was a regular presenter on Top of the Pops. Wright also presented a BBC TV series, The Steve Wright People Show, from 1994 to 1995.[29] His next stint in television was as the narrator and writer of the retro pop show Top of the Pops 2 between 1997 and 2009. The last episode of TOTP2 he presented was the Michael Jackson special broadcast on 27 June 2009.[30]

UK Chart Hits


Whilst a radio presenter on BBC Radio 1, Wright was involved in a number of UK chart hits with members of his Afternoon Posse (the drive time radio team) including the UK Top 10 hit "I'll Be Back" which featured Wright as one of the backing band, 'the Terminaters', on 29 August 1991 edition of BBC One's Top of the Pops.[31][32]

  • Young Steve and the Afternoon Boys – "I'm Alright" (RCA Records 1982, single) UK Singles Chart number 40[33]
  • Steve Wright and the Sisters of Soul – "Get Some Therapy" (RCA Records 1983, single) UK Singles Chart number 75[34]
  • Steve Wright – "The Gay Cavalieros (The Story So Far...)" (MCA 1984, single) UK Singles Chart number 61 in December 1984[35]
  • Mr. Angry With Steve Wright – "I'm So Angry" (MCA 1985, single)[36] UK Singles Chart number 90 in August 1985.[37]
  • Mr Food – "And That's Before Me Tea!"[38] (Tangible Records, single) UK Singles Chart number 62 in April 1990[39]
  • Arnee and the Terminaters – "I'll Be Back" (Epic Records 1991, single) UK Singles Chart number 5[40]



Wright won awards, including Best DJ of the Year as voted by the Daily Mirror Readers Poll and by Smash Hits in 1994. In 1998 he was awarded TRIC Personality of the Year for his radio programmes.[1]

Wright was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2024 New Year Honours for services to radio.[41]

Personal life


Wright was married in 1985 to Cyndi Robinson, an American journalist he had met when working in Reading.[42][43] The couple had two children and they divorced in 1999.[44][45]

Wright lived in Marylebone, London, close to Broadcasting House.[46] In July 2019, he told the Daily Mirror that he did not have time to look for a new partner, because he worked so much on his radio programmes. He said, "I work on an afternoon show on the BBC, and I do a love songs show at the weekend, and it means that I do a lot of interviews, and I prep a lot and I write a lot. So I have to work all the time." He revealed that the Rolling Stones were his favourite music act.[16] He was rumoured to be allergic to feathers and penicillin and had spoken out about his weight issues.[47]



Wright died on 12 February 2024, aged 69, at his home in Marylebone, London. The London Ambulance Service responded to an incident at 10:07 that morning; Wright was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said that the death was "unexpected", but was not being treated as suspicious.[46] His death was announced by his family the following day.[48][49][50]

Following his death, it was reported that Wright had undergone undisclosed heart bypass surgery in 2022.[51] Wright's brother blamed his death on an unhealthy diet and said that he had been reluctant to discuss health issues.[52] Friends of Wright have suggested that he struggled to come to terms with ex-wife Cyndi's death in 2020, at her home in Midhurst, West Sussex during the COVID-19 pandemic.[53][54][55]

His death was first reported on BBC Radio 2 during 13 February's 5pm bulletin, by newsreader Mike Powell who regularly read the news on Steve Wright's afternoon show. Tributes were then led, on air, by fellow Radio 2 DJ Sara Cox.[56] His colleague Tony Blackburn wrote on X, and spoke on the PM programme on BBC Radio 4, Sky News and BBC Newsnight of his long friendship with Wright.[57] BBC director-general Tim Davie described Wright as "...a truly wonderful broadcaster who has been a huge part of so many of our lives over many decades.... He was the ultimate professional – passionate about the craft of radio and deeply in touch with his listeners."[58]

On 16 February, the BBC announced a special schedule of programming, across TV and radio, to remember Wright.[59]

In May 2024, it was revealed that no funeral or cremation had yet taken place for Wright.[60]

On 9 July 2024, it was reported that Wright's death certificate stated that his death was due to a ruptured ulcer in his stomach.[61]

The death certificate stated that the causes of death were acute peritonitis and a perforated gastric peptic ulcer.[62]


  • Steve Wright's Book of the Amazing But True: Trivia for the Connoisseur, Pocket Books (1995) ISBN 978-0671854829
  • Just Keep Talking: Story of the Chat Show, Simon & Schuster (1997) ISBN 978-0684816999
  • Steve Wright's Book of Factoids, HarperCollins Publishers (UK), (2005) ISBN 0-00-720660-7
  • Steve Wright's Further Factoids, HarperCollins Publishers (UK), (2007) ISBN 978-0007255191




  1. ^ a b "Steve Wright". BBC. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  2. ^ "Radio 2 – Presenters – Steve Wright". BBC. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Steve Wright, legendary Radio 2 presenter, dies aged 69". The Independent. 13 February 2024. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  4. ^ McFadden, Brendan (13 February 2024). "Tributes pour in for Steve Wright after beloved Radio 2 DJ dies aged 69". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  5. ^ Evening Standard – 29 November 1979, Page 6
  6. ^ "Steve Wright in the Afternoon", Wikipedia, 13 February 2024, retrieved 13 February 2024
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2005). British Hit Singles & Albums (18th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 34. ISBN 1-904994-00-8.
  8. ^ "Radio 1 Vintage: Mr Angry is less than impressed!". facebook.com. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  9. ^ Goddard 2002, p. 194.
  10. ^ "Steve Wright obituary: DJ who brought zany humour to British radio", The Times, p. 47, 14 February 2024
  11. ^ Colm O'Rourke, "The Cull of Radio 1", Transdiffusion, 1 December 2003. Retrieved 15 February 2024
  12. ^ Steve Wright's Talk Show – Talk Radio – 6 January 1996, retrieved 7 August 2023
  13. ^ "Wright Around The World". BBC Genome. 9 January 1999. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  14. ^ "Wright Around The World". BBC Genome. 25 October 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  15. ^ Daily Telegraph Archived 15 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine – Wogan is number one in BBC radio rich list
  16. ^ a b "Steve Wright's secret heartache". Mirror. 6 July 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2023.
  17. ^ "Rewind the years of Radio 1!". Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  18. ^ "'Old Woman' on Radio 2's Steve Wright show dies". bbc.co.uk. 10 November 2016. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – Steve Wright in the Afternoon, With Hurts and Sharon Gless". BBC.
  20. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – Steve Wright in the Afternoon – Giant penguins and tiny kangaroos – the amazing stories behind Steve Wright's factoids". BBC.
  21. ^ "Scott Mills to replace Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 afternoon show". BBC News. July 2022.
  22. ^ Weaver, Matthew (30 September 2022). "Steve Wright signs off from Radio 2 afternoon show after 23 years". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  23. ^ "Steve Wright tells Sunday Love Songs listeners to leave requests for prerecorded show". Telegraph.co.uk. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  24. ^ Payne, Andre (13 February 2024). "BBC Radio 2's Steve Wright dies aged 69". musicweek.com. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  25. ^ Nanji, Noor. "Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs starts 'without the chief'". Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  26. ^ "BBC Radio 2 announces new programming".
  27. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Love Songs with Michael Ball". BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2024.
  28. ^ Bushby, Helen (10 August 2023). "Steve Wright and Paul Gambaccini get new Radio 2 shows". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  29. ^ The Steve Wright People Show Archived 29 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine, IMDb, accessed 23 June 2011.
  30. ^ "Michael Jackson Top of the Pops 2 Tribute". Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  31. ^ Top of the Pops on BBC One Thursday 29 August 1991, repeated on BBC Four Friday 24 September 2021 & Saturday 25 September 2021
  32. ^ "BBC One – Top of the Pops, 29/08/1991". Bbc.co.uk.
  33. ^ "YOUNG STEVE & THE AFTERNOON BOYS | full Official Chart History". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  34. ^ "STEVE WRIGHT | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  35. ^ "THE GAY GAVALIEROS". Official Charts. 24 November 1984.
  36. ^ "45cat - Mr. Angry (With Steve Wright) - I'm So Angry / Angry Rap - MCA - UK - MCA 987". Retrieved 9 July 2024.
  37. ^ "I'M SO ANGRY FT STEVE WRIGHT". Official Charts. 24 August 1985.
  38. ^ "MR FOOD | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  39. ^ "NOSH TV Official Mr Food Channel &#124". YouTube.
  40. ^ "ARNEE & THE TERMINATORS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  41. ^ "No. 64269". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2023. p. N26.
  42. ^ Dave Wright, "BBC DJ Steve Wright remembered by his Reading 210 colleagues", Reading Chronicle, 14 February 2024. Retrieved 14 February 2024
  43. ^ Ian Youngs, "Steve Wright: A radio giant and a feel-good friend to millions", BBC, 13 February 2024. Retrieved 14 February 2024
  44. ^ Watts, Halina; Kindon, Frances (13 February 2024). "Steve Wright's hidden heartaches from ex-wife split to Radio 2 sorrow". The Mirror. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  45. ^ "Steve Wright Family: Know About Ex-Wife Cyndi Robinson And Children". TimesNow. 13 February 2024. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  46. ^ a b Simpson, Craig (14 February 2024). "Steve Wright was found dead at London home by paramedics after 'incident'". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  47. ^ Banim, Julia (13 February 2024). "Steve Wright's health journey from rumoured allergies to inspiring weight loss". The Mirror. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  48. ^ "Tribute to Steve Wright MBE". www.bbc.co.uk. 13 February 2024. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  49. ^ Singh, Anita (February 2024). "BBC radio Steve Wright dies aged 69". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  50. ^ "Steve Wright, BBC Radio presenter, dies aged 69". The Guardian. 13 February 2024. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  51. ^ Charlotte Wace, "Steve Wright death: DJ underwent heart bypass surgery months ago", The Times, 18 February 2024. Retrieved 20 February 2024
  52. ^ "Steve Wright's brother says DJ hid 'health issues' and had 'poor diet'". London Evening Standard. 15 February 2024.
  53. ^ Brinsford, James; Beattie, Eve (19 February 2024). "Steve Wright 'shut down' after ex-wife's death as son shares tragic update". Daily Record. Retrieved 29 February 2024.
  54. ^ Tunstall, Becky (22 November 2022), "The role of household and home in COVID-19 infection and death", Stay Home, Policy Press, pp. 81–100, doi:10.1332/policypress/9781447365884.003.0005, ISBN 978-1-4473-6588-4, retrieved 29 February 2024
  55. ^ "Steve Wright 'completely shut down' after ex died as son shares sad update". Daily Mirror. 18 February 2024.
  56. ^ "Steve Wright death: DJ found dead 'by paramedics at home' – latest". The Independent. 14 February 2024.
  57. ^ "x.com". Retrieved 9 July 2024.
  58. ^ "Steve Wright, legendary Radio 2 presenter, dies aged 69". The Independent. 13 February 2024. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  59. ^ "BBC confirms special schedule of content remembering Steve Wright". Radio Times.
  60. ^ by Mia O'Hare, Peter Hart (30 May 2024). "Steve Wright cause of death update 3 months after tragic end with no funeral". OK! Magazine. Retrieved 9 July 2024.
  61. ^ Mzimba, Lizo (9 July 2024). "Steve Wright: BBC DJ died from stomach ulcer rupture". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 9 July 2024.
  62. ^ "Steve Wright: BBC DJ died from stomach ulcer rupture". BBC News. 9 July 2024. Retrieved 9 July 2024.

General and cited references

Media offices
Preceded by BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show Presenter

Succeeded by