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Big Band Special is a weekly BBC Radio 2 series which launched in 1979. Featuring the BBC Big Band in session and in concert, Big Band Special is a 30 minute programme broadcast on Monday nights at 10pm. Presented by Clare Teal since April 2006, Big Band Special is also available to listen to for a further 7 days following each broadcast via the BBC iPlayer.


Originally planned as a short run of 12 programmes, Big Band Special was presented by Sheila Tracy from 1979 until 2001. Other presenters include Stacey Kent (2001 - 2004) and Helen Mayhew (2004 - 2006). For most of its first decade, Big Band Special was made up of studio sessions featuring the BBC Big Band and guest singers. From the 1990's onwards concerts from all parts of the UK and beyond became a regular part of Big Band Special.

Big Band Special embraces a diverse mix of repertoire ranging from the 1930' s sounds of Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson and Jimmie Lunceford, through the swing era to the modern sounds of writers including Francy Boland, Bob Brookmeyer, John Clayton, Bob Florence, Steve Gray, Bill Holman, Jörg Achim Keller, Rob McConnell and Gerry Mulligan.

Conductors featured regularly on Big Band Special include Barry Forgie, Jiggs Whigham, Mark Nightingale and Steve Sidwell.

Big Band Special celebrated its 30th anniversary on 6th October 2009.

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