BBC Radio 2 is to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album with a fab four-day pop up spin-off station.
The Beatles at ATV.
“The Beatles are woven into the fabric of UK culture. They inspired and continue to inspire artists of all generations and created some of the world’s most loved music. As their seminal album Abbey Road is 50 years old, I am delighted that Radio 2 is celebrating the Fab Four with a four-day pop-up DAB radio station.” – Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2
Radio 2 Beatles will feature programmes fronted by Gary Barlow, John Bishop, Martin Freeman, Guy Garvey, Dave Grohl, Giles Martin, Cerys Matthews, Paul Merton and many more along with Radio 2 presenters including Zoe Ball, Sara Cox and Jo Whiley, and other huge fans of the Merseyside group.
Broadcasting from Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th September from London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios, the station will honour John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, as individual artists, and as songwriters. All the live shows on Radio 2 Beatles will come direct from Abbey Road – with some also simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds – and broadcast alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatles content from the BBC archive.
Barlow-fronted We Write The Songs will see Paul McCartney interviewed by the Take That singer about the music with the band’s inspiration to write and McCartney’s longevity in the business amongst the topics covered. In My Beatles we’ll hear about the influence the Fab Four’s work had on Dave Grohl, Jack Savoretti and Tom Odell; the likes of Tony Blackburn and radio critic Gillian Reynolds share their experiences of the swinging sixties in the daily series I Was There; and Martin Freeman will take a look at The story of The White Album across two shows.
6 Music Breakfast and Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne presents Desert Island Beatles, featuring the many guests who’ve selected one of their group or solo records, as a must-have track, plus Liza Tarbuck meets pop-artist and Sgt. Pepper sleeve designer Sir Peter Blake, while Jimmy Tarbuck hosts an hour of novelty versions of hit Beatles songs.
Other programmes commissioned for the station include a Beatles All Request with Sara Cox and a Friday Night Is Music Night special, The Beatles Orchestrated featuring host Guy Garvey and artists including Cerys Matthews, Katie Melua, Level 42’s Mark King all performing songs from across the Beatles catalogue supported by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Craig Charles will uncover some of the Beeb’s incredible archive audio; actor Himesh Patel, star of the movie Yesterday, will look at the incredible story behind the band’s last album Abbey Road in a two-part series; and Paul Merton takes to the imaginary stage to introduce The Beatles Fantasy Concert. The station has also commissioned a special chart from the Official Charts Company – The Beatles Downloaded: Official UK Top 60 will be counted down on Saturday and Sunday afternoons by Janice Long and Greg James.
Radio 2 Beatles will be launched by Ken Bruce. All programmes will be available to listen to on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast.