Steve Wright (DJ)

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Steve Wright
Born
Stephen Richard Wright

(1954-08-26) 26 August 1954 (age 68)
Greenwich, London, England
OccupationRadio personality
Years active1976–present
Spouse
Cyndi Robinson
(m. 1985; div. 1999)
Children2
Career
ShowSunday Love Songs
Station(s)BBC Radio 2
Time slot09:00–11:00 Sundays
CountryUnited Kingdom
Previous show(s)
Website[1]

Stephen Richard Wright (born 26 August 1954)[1] is an English radio personality and disc jockey, credited for introducing the zoo format on British radio, with its zany, multi-personality approach. 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, the latter being most popular station in the United Kingdom, ending on 30 September 2022. He continues to present his Sunday Love Songs weekend mid-morning show on Radio 2. On BBC Television Wright has hosted Home Truths, The Steve Wright People Show, Auntie's TV Favourites, Top of the Pops and TOTP2.[2] Wright has 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.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Greenwich, South London, the elder of two boys in a working-class family, Wright was raised in New Cross. His childhood ambition was to work in the entertainment business. His father, Richard Wright, was a tailor and the manager of the Burton's store in Trafalgar Square. Wright was a quiet child, and never very scholarly.[3][better source needed] He was educated at Eastwood High School for Boys, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Steve occasionally broadcast a nascent radio show over the school speaker system from the school stock cupboard. Wright 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 alongside Mike Read. In 1979 Wright got his big break at Radio Luxembourg, where he presented his own nightly show, presenting a Saturday evening show, then Saturday morning.[citation needed]

BBC Radio 1[edit]

In 1980, Wright joined BBC Radio 1, taking over a Saturday evening slot before moving to Saturday mornings later that year.

Steve Wright in the Afternoon (March 1981 to December 1993)[edit]

Wright moved to daytime radio with Steve Wright in the Afternoon in 1981, later introducing the zoo format to the UK.[2]

In 1984, Wright took over a Sunday morning show entitled Steve Wright on Sunday, which meant he presented weekday afternoons Mondays to Thursdays, with Mark Page and Paul Jordan presenting Friday afternoon's show. In 1986 his Sunday morning show ended, and he returned to five afternoons a week.

The original incarnation of Steve Wright in the Afternoon ran from 1981 to 1993 on BBC Radio 1. The show became known in its Radio 1 incarnation for its 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. 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. This format was new to British radio and marked the beginning of the marginalisation (and eventual departure) of several established Radio 1 DJs over the years that followed.[citation needed]

The Smiths' 1986 hit single "Panic" was inspired by Wright playing "I'm Your Man" by Wham! following a news report about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on his show. Johnny Marr and Morrissey, who had been listening to the broadcast, viewed this as an insensitive and disrespectful act.[4]

Radio 1 Breakfast (January 1994 to April 1995)[edit]

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; he was unhappy with the plummeting listening figures of the station due to its restructuring under new controller Matthew Bannister, which led to many of the more established DJs leaving, or being sacked, around this time.

Commercial radio[edit]

Wright was picked up by the new station Talk Radio in 1995, where he presented a Saturday morning show. He presented various syndicated shows on Sunday mornings on a number of other British commercial stations.

BBC World Service[edit]

Wright joined the BBC World Service on 5th January 1999, presenting a 1 hour programme, Wright Around The World [5] This show ran every Saturday afternoon until the final show on 25th October 2003. [6] This meant that he was now on BBC Radio 7 days a week.

BBC Radio 2[edit]

He joined BBC Radio 2 in March 1996, where he began presenting Steve Wright's Saturday Show (1996–1999) and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs (1996–present), and his afternoon show beginning in July 1999. In 2006, Wright was said to earn £440,000 a year at Radio 2.[7]

Steve Wright in the Afternoon (July 1999 to September 2022)[edit]

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.

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.[8]

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. [9] The final show was broadcast on 30 September 2022, with Wright playing "Radio Ga Ga" by Queen as his last record.

Sunday Love Songs (March 1996 to present)[edit]

Sunday Love Songs, which Wright presents solo between 9am and 11am, features a blend of classic love songs, dedications and real-life romance stories.

In 2013 it was revealed that the show was recorded on a Friday afternoon. The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee said the failure to inform listeners breached guidelines on accuracy and interacting with the audience.[10]

Career outside radio[edit]

Wright presented a BBC TV series, The Steve Wright People Show, from 1994 to 1995.[11] 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; Mark Radcliffe presented the next episode, which was the 2009 Christmas special broadcast on 23 December 2009.

UK Chart Hits[edit]

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 was performed in character by Mike Woolmans as 'Arnee' and which featured Wright as one of his backing band, 'the Terminaters', on the 29 August 1991 edition of BBC One's Top of the Pops.[12][13]

  • Young Steve & The Afternoon Boys - "I'm Alright" (RCA Records 1982, single) UK Singles Chart number 40[14]
  • Steve Wright And The Sisters Of Soul - "Get Some Therapy" (RCA Records 1983, single) UK Singles Chart number 75[15]
  • Steve Wright - "The Gay Cavalieros (The Story So Far...)" (MCA 1984, single) UK Singles Chart number 61 in December 1984.
  • Mr. Angry With Steve Wright - "I'm So Angry" (MCA 1985, single) UK Singles Chart number 90 in August 1985.
  • Arnee and the Terminaters - "I'll Be Back" (Epic Records 1991, single) UK Singles Chart number 5[16]

In addition to these records, Mr Food's number 62 single from 1990 "And That's Before Me Tea!",[17] was based on a jingle by Dave Sanderson recorded for Wright's afternoon show.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Little is known about Wright's personal life. He was married to Cyndi Robinson until they divorced in 1999, and has two children. He is allergic to feathers and penicillin.[19][failed verification]

Bibliography[edit]

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Radio 2 – Presenters – Steve Wright". BBC. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Steve Wright". BBC. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  3. ^ Parry, Ryan (4 August 2011). "Steve Wright: inside the weird world of the Radio 2 legend". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016.
  4. ^ "One Track Minded | 'Panic' - It's The Smiths - HeadStuff". Archived from the original on 12 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Wright Around The World". BBC Genome. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  6. ^ "Wright Around The World". BBC Genome. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  7. ^ Daily Telegraph Archived 15 April 2010(Date mismatch) at the Wayback Machine – Wogan is number one in BBC radio rich list
  8. ^ "'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.
  9. ^ "Scott Mills to replace Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 afternoon show". BBC News. July 2022.
  10. ^ reporters, The Telegraph (28 May 2018). "Steve Wright tells Sunday Love Songs listeners to leave requests for prerecorded show". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  11. ^ The Steve Wright People Show Archived 29 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine, IMDb, accessed 23 June 2011.
  12. ^ Top of the Pops on BBC One Thursday 29 August 1991, repeated on BBC Four Friday 24 September 2021 & Saturday 25 September 2021
  13. ^ "BBC One - Top of the Pops, 29/08/1991". Bbc.co.uk.
  14. ^ "YOUNG STEVE & THE AFTERNOON BOYS | full Official Chart History". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  15. ^ "STEVE WRIGHT | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  16. ^ "ARNEE & THE TERMINATORS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 9 May 2022.
  17. ^ "MR FOOD | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Official Charts.
  18. ^ "A Steve Wright Jingle Archive". Sidthemanager.co.uk.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Steve Wright in the Afternoon, Paul McKenna and Jon Culshaw". BBC. Retrieved 13 February 2020.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by BBC Radio 1
Breakfast Show Presenter

1994-1995
Succeeded by