BBC announces radio singalong and changes to The Archers

BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, 1Xtra and the Asian Network will be joining forces on Thursday 2nd April for the BBC’s Great British Singalong, a mass singalong designed to lift the nation’s spirits.

The BBC’s five popular music stations will come together in a multiway simulcast at 9am this Thursday, with each station bringing along one song that they think the public will love to join in with, wherever they are.

Greg James will be leading the singalong on Radio 1 with Dermot O’Leary (who is covering for Zoe Ball) on Radio 2, Lauren Laverne on 6 Music, Dotty on 1Xtra, and Harpz Kaur on the Asian Network. Ahead of Thursday morning, each station will be asking their listeners which track they should bring to the singalong, but the final song choices will lie with each of the presenters.

“Nothing brings people together quite like radio does. It’s been a great comfort for me to have a focus during this extraordinary time. I’m so glad the listeners find what we’re currently doing a useful distraction as well. I can’t wait to annoy all the 6 Music listeners with my choice.” – Greg James

O’Leary urged listeners to warm up their vocal chords while Laverne noted that she was pleased that as a radio presenter she could ‘unite and entertain’ listeners during ‘such a challenging time’.

“I hope the national singalong can play some small part in reinforcing that real sense of community that has and will continue to carry us through the most difficult of times,” added Dotty while Kaur said: “I’m 100% going to be singing my heart out in the studio and I can’t wait to see which five tracks we end up with.”

“In these challenging times, we know that many people have been turning to radio as a lifeline. The live broadcasts from our amazing presenters are providing people with a sense of community and some much-needed escapism at a time where many of us are feeling distant from our loved ones. We’ll be keeping that spirit up on Thursday morning as all our pop music stations come together in what is sure to be a very special moment.” – Lorna Clarke, Controller of BBC Popular Music

All the presenters will be broadcasting from their own, separate studios. Listeners can join in with all the action on Thursday by tuning in to any of the five stations from 9am, on the radio or on BBC Sounds, and by sharing their efforts on social media using the tag #UKSingalong.

Meanwhile, long-running Radio 4 soap The Archers has announced changes due to coronavirus. Enough episodes have been recorded to take listeners to Ambridge as usual until the end of April with temporary changes coming into effect thereafter. These include a slimmed down broadcast pattern and episodes featuring fewer characters.

Starting Monday 4 May, there will be four episodes per week, broadcast Monday to Thursday at the usual time of 7pm on BBC Radio 4. The Sunday Omnibus will consequently be shorter. The team behind The Archers will soon start using ‘home studios’ with the cast recording ‘down the line’, connected to directors and crew as studio-based recordings are not an option under current social distancing guidelines.

“For nearly 70 years Ambridge has been a haven for our audience, and so it continues to be. Whilst Coronavirus might be coming to Borsetshire, listeners can still expect The Archers to be an escape, and the residents to be bickering and as playful and witty as ever. We want this new approach to The Archers to still be a picture of the way we live now in rural England that it has always been. However, these are unprecedented times and the team has worked tirelessly to make sure we can continue to visit Ambridge. I am enormously grateful to the production team, the cast and the crew for all their magnificent efforts and creativity. The Archers will sound different and will be simpler, but I think keeping the show running and giving us all an opportunity to hear from beloved characters will be a treat loyal listeners will want and need.” – Jeremy Howe, Editor of The Archers

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