Steve Wright’s BBC Radio 2 replacement has been revealed

BBC Radio 2 has announced who will be stepping into Steve Wright’s role as the host of fan-favourite radio show Sunday Love Songs.

The legendary DJ’s death at 69 was announced by his family last week (13 February). A cause of death was not disclosed.

The veteran presenter, also known for fronting Top of the Pops, hosted shows on BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 for more than four decades, including the Saturday show Pick of the Pops and Love Songs every Sunday afternoon.

On the first Sunday after his death, his friend and colleague Liza Tarbuck stepped into his shoes to present Love Songs, giving an emotional on-air tribute to Wright as she dedicated the show to him.

However, BBC Radio 2 announced that Early Breakfast show presenter Nicki Chapman, 57, has taken over Wright’s Sunday Love Songs slot until Easter, when a permanent replacement will step in.

“It will be a privilege to present Sunday Love Songs in the coming weeks, so please do tune in and keep me company as I share the listeners’ favourite songs alongside their heart-warming stories and memories of loved ones,” Chapman said in a statement.

Wright’s final radio show was aired on Sunday 11 February, just two days before his death – a pre-recorded episode of Love Songs. Throughout the episode, which was a two-hour-long pre-Valentine’s show, Wright was his jolly self: he cracked jokes in between songs, read out romantic shout-outs sent in by listeners and hummed along to tunes.

At the end of the show, the radio legend signed off by saying: “That’s it today for Love Songs.“

Nicki Chapman will temporarily take over ‘Love Songs’ until a permanent replacement is announced for Easter (Getty Images)
Nicki Chapman will temporarily take over ‘Love Songs’ until a permanent replacement is announced for Easter (Getty Images)

“I’ll be back for more love songs next Sunday. Ta-ra then.”

On the Saturday after Wright’s death, his friend and BBC Radio 2 presenter Gary Davies stepped in to present Pick of the Pops.

Davies choked up as he dedicated the show to Wright, whom he called a “broadcasting giant”.

Opening the show, he said: “On numerous occasions over the last 40 years, I’ve sat in for Steve when he was on holiday and I’m still finding it hard to come to terms with why I’m sitting in for him for just one final day today.”

BBC Radio 2 dedicated scheduling over the weekend after Wright’s death to the late DJ (PA Wire)
BBC Radio 2 dedicated scheduling over the weekend after Wright’s death to the late DJ (PA Wire)

Davies added that since Wright was a mainstay presenter on Saturday afternoons, his absence was felt throughout the day.

“We’ve been celebrating his life on BBC Radio 2 all week, but it’s today when we really feel the loss.

“As we come to the point in the Radio 2 schedule where Steve should be kicking off the show for millions of people up and down the country...Steve was a friend, a colleague, a true radio pioneer. Broadcasting was Steve’s life.”

Meanwhile, during Love Songs on Sunday, Tarbuck presented a special Remembering Steve Wright episode of the show, and read out messages from those who’ve had their dedications featured by Wright in the past.

Wright’s family announced the DJ’s death on 13 February in a statement, writing: “It is with deep sorrow and profound regret that we announce the passing of our beloved Steve Wright.

“In addition to his son, Tom, and daughter, Lucy, Steve leaves behind his brother, Laurence and his father Richard. Also, much-loved close friends and colleagues, and millions of devoted radio listeners who had the good fortune and great pleasure of allowing Steve into their daily lives as one of the UK’s most enduring and popular radio personalities.”

Wright’s brother Laurence, 65, has since blamed his brother’s death on his diet and overall “lifestyle choices”.

“He was aware that he could have looked after himself better, in his lifestyle choices. Obviously, we all wish he had,” Laurence, a director of a company in the health industry, told The Daily Mail.

“It’s like anyone who doesn’t look after themselves over an extended period. The normal stuff – diet, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress – he was a very stoic kind of guy as well so if he had something wrong with him and he had to go to have some treatment or go to the doctors, he wouldn’t talk about it.

“He was the kind of guy who would just carry on, take care of it, not talk about it, not make a big thing, that kind of stoic sort of attitude.”

Love Songs continues at 9am, Sunday 25 February on BBC Radio 2.