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Steve Wright

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Birth name Stephen Richard Wright
Born 26 August 1954 (1954-08-26) (age 55)
Blackheath, London
Show Steve Wright in the Afternoon - The Big Show
Station(s) BBC Radio 2
Time slot 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. weekdays
Show Sunday Love Songs
Time slot 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. Sundays
Style Afternoon Show Host
Country United Kingdom
Website Steve Wright in the Afternoon

Stephen Richard "Steve" Wright (born 26 August 1954 in Greenwich, London) is a radio broadcaster in the United Kingdom. He presents the afternoon show on BBC Radio 2. He rose to prominence in the early 1980s while working with Peter Dickson on BBC Radio 1.

Contents

Early career

The son of a company director, Wright was educated at Eastwood High School, Essex. He started broadcasting in 1976 on Reading's Radio 210 alongside Mike Read. In 1979 he joined Radio Luxembourg, and then BBC Radio 1 in 1980, presenting a Saturday evening show, then Saturday morning before moving to Steve Wright in the Afternoon from 1981.

In 1984, Wright took over a Sunday morning show entitled Steve Wright on Sunday, which meant he presented weekday afternoons Mondays–Thursdays only, with Mark Page and Paul Jordan presenting Friday afternoon's show. In 1986 his Sunday morning show ended and he returned to five afternoons a week.

Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 1

The show became known in its Radio 1 incarnation for its cast of telephone characters created and performed by Gavin McCoy, Peter Dickson, Richard Easter and Phil Cornwell. The show went out of its way to be irreverent, including stories taken from the Weekly World News. The success led to a hit single, "I'll Be Back", released under the name "Arnee & The Terminators". In later years the style changed, dumping most of the characters and instead having a "zoo" format, with spoof guests and comedy sketches. A "posse" of producers and radio staff joined in.

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Characters and sketches

Characters and sketches created for the show included:

  • Mr Angry (from Purley): usually ranting down the phone line, ending with "...it makes me so angry... I could slam the phone down!" followed by the receiver crashing down.
  • Diamond Geezer: supposed DJ/mixer, and voice for the track "Mr Spoons" (David Spurr)
  • The "Down-the-Pan" Daleks: two 'retired' Daleks in improbable domestic situations
  • 'Easy Life'
  • Dr Fish-Filleter: source of much innuendo about fishy fingers, etc. Had his own 'jingle' sung by Steve and his Posse when the interview had ended ("Fillet of Fish, Fillet of Fish. O' Give me Fish to Fillet!").
  • Edward the Garrulous Fencing Champion: his catchphrase is "I epee you"
  • Mr Food ("...and that's before my tea!")
  • Gervais the Hairdresser ("Keep your tongue out!")
  • Hopeless the Weather Girl: a parody of the brand of 'bimbo'-esque weather girls seen on British television in the late 1980s.
  • Maggot - an odd character with a high pitched voice.
  • 'Mick and Keef': not the real Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but impersonations (played by Phil Cornwell, who later did the characters in Stella Street). Bill Wyman also made occasional appearances.
  • David Bowie: again, not the real David Bowie but an impersonation; "Bowie" frequently asked "tell us what the time is" (adjusted slightly at Christmas to "tell us what the Christmas time is").
  • Linda Lust: her catchphrase is "Spatula" in a sultry, sensual voice.
  • Llama Man: Spoof signature tune: "Llama man, Llama man, does everything a llama can. He can bleat! He can trot! He's got everything a llama's got."
  • Motorcycle Courier - who left his motorbike running and would scream "SIGN 'ERE PLEASE!" from his motorcycle helmet regardless of what was asked of him.
  • Mr Mad: , would phone in, refer to Steve as "Pal" and would ask "Guess where I'm livin' today?" then proceed to name improbable locations (like inside the mace of the House of Commons or inside Paul McCartney's guitar). Then would end the call withvocal whistles and beeps and his catchphrase was "Ravin' mad, pal!".
  • Mr Paranoid
  • The Parking Man - constantly shouting two instructions 'You're Alright, You're Alright' and 'Left Hand Down' to someone trying to reverse their van into a parking space outside the 'window' of the studio. Would sometimes end in a calamitous crashing followed by silence and then 'You're Alright!'
  • The Car Cleaner - would phone, but would be impossible to understand anything he (Wright) was saying as he would be cleaning his car. The noise of the vacuum would drown out the majority of the conversation, leaving only innuendo-based snippets.
  • Pretentious Music Journalist: supposedly based on a number of 1980s rock/pop reviewers (perhaps especially Simon Reynolds, David Stubbs and Paul Oldfield of Melody Maker), he reads a little too much into a band's songs with over-complex and artistically pretentious monologues where a simple explanation would suffice, e.g., "They generate a sonic cathedral of sound" means "loud".
  • Sid the Manager: supposedly Steve Wright's agent, a genial but often confused duffer
  • Voiceover Man
  • The Perv: heard tapping at the window calling "Yoohoo! Hello Stevie! I'm in the corridor..." and describing his startling attire.
  • Damien the Social Worker
  • Ruth McCrum from Northern Ireland who told Wright "you've got the perfect face for Radio"
  • Fred Crosswell, the cinema manager
  • The Geese, out-of-control Canada geese loose in the studio; "can we get the geese out of here please".
  • John Bowl, based on the journalist John Cole, who would often lose his temper with Steve, addressing him as a "dough head".
  • Boutros Boutros Boutros Boutros, a stuntman who attempted remarkable feats with a staggering lack of success.
  • Malcolm from the Arts Council, a well spoken Arts Council official, who would address Wright as "Stephen" and threaten to pull the show's funding when the DJ teased him.
  • Mr Contestant, a hopeless call-in quiz-show contestant who would always blow the final part of the answer under time pressure and end with the same nonsensical answer, like "Name the 4 Mutant Ninja Turtles"... "Donatello... Michelangelo... Rafael and, erm, ahhhh" "Got to hurry you" "...eerrmmm, ohhhhhh Hartley Hare!"
  • Dave Double Decks

The Breakfast Show and beyond

Wright and his Posse moved to the breakfast show in 1994, but he resigned in 1995 due to differences with the BBC Radio 1 management after the station was restructured by new controller Matthew Bannister, which led to many of the more established DJs leaving, or being sacked, around this time. He was picked up by the new commercial station Talk Radio, where he presented a Saturday morning show & also presented a syndicated show on Sunday mornings on various commercial stations in the UK.

He returned to the BBC in 1996, when he joined BBC Radio 2, presenting Steve Wright's Saturday Show on Saturdays 10 am-1 pm and Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs on Sundays 9–11 am. In 1999, Steve took over Radio 2's weekday afternoon show (from Ed Stewart) and he is also the voice of the retro pop show on BBC television, Top of the Pops 2 between 1997 and 2009. The last episode of TOTP2 he presented was the Michael Jackson special broadcast on 27 June 2009, Mark Radcliffe presented the next episode which was the 2009 Christmas special broadcast on 23 December 2009. It is unknown if Steve Wright will continue to present the show from 2010 and beyond or if Radcliffe has replaced Wright as the presenter.

Current work

Wright can currently be heard on BBC Radio 2 weekday afternoons in Steve Wright in the Afternoon from 2 pm until 5 pm, and on Sunday mornings 9–11 am presenting Sunday Love Songs. He presents the former with several sidekicks; Tim Smith and Janey Lee Grace (both radio DJs in their own right, and often heard as solo holiday relief presenters on Radio 2), plus traffic reporter Sally Boazman (whom Wright calls 'Sally Traffic') and "The Old Woman", whose identity has never been revealed, though it is apparent that she is genuinely a senior citizen and not a younger actress (despite her vocal similarity to Wendy Richard). It has been rumoured that she is actress Edna Doré[citation needed]. During the 14 May 2007 edition of Steve Wright in the Afternoon, guest Shane Ritchie referred to Old Woman as Nana Moon: a character from the soap EastEnders played by Hilda Braid. The Old Woman also appears on Channel 4's Paul O'Grady Show]] where she is credited as "Joyce from Dagenham" - her real name.

Wright allegedly earns an annual salary of £440,000 for his work on Radio 2.[1]

Current afternoon show features include:

  • "Ask Elvis": an Elvis impersonator (Mitch Benn) answers questions from listeners, particularly those of a scientific or technical nature.
  • Celebrity interviews (usually two in each programme - at 3.30-3.45pm and 4.30-4.45pm)
  • 'Factoids' These are diverse nuggets of (not always reliable) information.

A popular feature that disappeared in the summer of 2007 with the start of the BBC investigation into 'rigged' contests (although there was no suggestion of Steve's show being involved) was "The Big Quiz", a general knowledge quiz in which a challenger took on the current champion (referred to as the 'champnio' or 'champine') in order to win prizes. Each contestant had a time limit to answer questions, then the round ended following the first incorrect answer from that contestant. Winners were given a selection of prizes, building up if they remained 'champnio', whilst the loser gained a coveted 'Sustificate of Muppetry' if they did particularly poorly.

"Love the show"

A feature of Wright's radio shows are letters from listeners. Almost all feature the phrase "Love the show". It is not clear whether listeners include it to ensure Wright will read the letters or if he adds it himself. Wright's initials have been adapted into "SWs to you", an abbreviation used by correspondents of fellow Radio 2 presenter Sarah Kennedy. It means "Love the show". Other Radio 2 presenters have parodied it: Terry Wogan bemoans the lack of such encouragement in his correspondence, occasionally reading listeners' letters which say "Love Steve Wright's show", while listeners of Chris Evans once added "Love the snow" to messages. During a stint sitting in for Wright, Mark Radcliffe jokingly told off listeners who started messages by saying how much they loved the show, supposedly screwing up their letters.

Steve presented a special Love Songs show on New Year's Eve 2007 on BBC Radio 2 10pm - 1am New Years Day 2008.

Bibliography

  • Steve Wright Steve Wright's Book of Factoids , HarperCollins Publishers (UK), (2005) ISBN 0-00-720660-7

External links

References

  1. ^ Daily Telegraph - Wogan is number one in BBC radio rich list
Media offices
Preceded by
Mark Goodier
BBC Radio One
Breakfast Show Presenter

1994–1995
Succeeded by
Chris Evans

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