Steve Wright on his final BBC Radio 2 afternoon show: No tension here, just fun

The veteran host has presented Steve Wright In The Afternoon since 1999.
The veteran host has presented Steve Wright In The Afternoon since 1999.

Steve Wright has kicked off his last BBC Radio 2 afternoon show, saying “no tension here, just fun, celebration and thanks to you” as he bids farewell after 23 years.

The 68-year-old broadcaster announced he would be leaving his afternoon show in July as part of the station’s schedule shake-up.

He has presented Steve Wright In The Afternoon on the Radio 2 slot since 1999 and also presents Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs on the network.

Scott Mills, who left BBC Radio 1 after 24 years at the network, is taking over the 2-4pm slot.

Opening his final show, Wright said: “Last show, bit of pressure, got to make it a good one.”

After playing How Bizarre by OMC, Wright added: “No tension here, just fun, celebration and thanks to you.

“I am going to try and do my normal bits because I don’t want to go to pieces. I don’t want to be in bits but I might.”

The veteran host made an emotional personal address during his final show thanking his “dear listeners smashing and loyal.”

Music – George Michael – BBC Radio 1 – London
Superstar George Michael pictured with BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Wright (PA)

“Thank you if you’ve ever seen your way to listening to us over 23 years at any time. Thank you, thank you and thank you again,” he said.

“Corny though it sounds, I quite like the way we’ve all helped each other get through some of our on-going problems together, the pandemic, the financial downturn, the ups and downs of life in the UK.

“Sometimes it has been very difficult for everybody. We’ve tried on this programme to bring just a little bit of light relief, a good genuine atmosphere, uplifting tunes, good conversation, a little bit of satire, we try to make the show unique and just be good company.

“I can only hope we have done that some of the time.

“Also really aware there are more things to think about than a radio show ending so I don’t want to be too self-indulgent. What I do want to do is celebrate the show’s success and long run and also mention that I’m not retiring, I am not retiring,” he said comically.

He later added: “Hands up for celebration and no regrets.”

TV presenter Richard Osman was among the celebrities paying tribute to Wright on Twitter: “Will be listening to Steve Wright’s final Radio 2 afternoon show today.

“He’s been entertaining me for nearly 40 years (no, not non-stop) and I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes next. Good luck Steve, and thank you!”

Comedian Matt Lucas wrote: “Goodbye Steve Wright In The Afternoon. A terrific broadcaster and always such a kind, engaged host.”

Tim Vine told how Wright would be “missed”, tweeting: “It’s the last Steve Wright in the Afternoon today on Radio2. It was such a great show to be on as a comedian.

“Steve was always so supportive and encouraging and just plain fun to be with. Thank you Steve and thank you @radiostimsmith too.”

Comedian Sue Perkins also tweeted: “Bon voyage to broadcasting legend Steve Wright on @BBCRadio2. A gent. Always a pleasure to be interviewed by him.”

Meanwhile Rob Brydon tweeted: “Steve Wright. Simply a GIANT of radio. #SteveWrightInTheAfternoon.”

BBC political editor Chris Mason, who took the role over from Laura Kuenssberg in May, made several tweets about what Steve Wright meant to him.

“From listening when it was me on the school run as a kid, to listening now when it’s me doing the school run for the Mason nippers: Steve Wright’s always been there. Making the day better. Constancy. Company. Humour. Energy.

“We’d listen on the school bus. Those regular moments: Now Playing Everywhere, Hands Up, the Factoids, the Oldies. The jingles. The show theme. And getting invited onto the show. Will forever be a career highlight for me, whatever I get to do. Sitting in the studio with Steve, Tim and Janey; magic moment for me.

“Put simply, Steve is a radio genius, one of our greatest ever broadcasters. Loved the Show.”

Broadcaster Wright, who announced the news live on his show in July that he “can’t hold the slot forever”, has since stressed he is not retiring.

Wright will continue to present Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio Two and his Serious Jockin’ podcast will launch on November 4 on BBC Sounds.

He will also be presenting a special programme on Radio Two on National Album Day and more programmes including Christmas specials will be announced soon, the BBC have said.