'The BBC's latest step to honour Steve Wright feels nothing short of an empty gesture'

'The BBC's latest step to honour Steve Wright feels nothing short of an empty gesture'

WATCH HERE: Eamonn Holmes pays tribute to Steve Wright following news of his death

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 16/02/2024

- 11:56

Updated: 19/02/2024

- 22:40

Dedicating a weekend's content to a man they tossed to the sidelines feels a truly hollow and empty consolation from the Beeb, says GB News' Entertainment Editor

The world of broadcasting truly lost one of the greats this week following the death of BBC Radio icon, Steve Wright, at the age of 69.

For almost four decades, Wright was to many the voice of radio - he spent over a decade and a half at BBC Radio 1 before making the switch to Radio 2 in 1999 where he saw out the rest of his career.

But like so many at the BBC, Wright was pushed to the sidelines despite legions of loyal listeners, an extraordinary reputation, unwavering dedication and - arguably most importantly - undeniable talent.

In 2022, Wright and so many of his colleagues of a certain age found their futures at the Beeb in doubt as the corporation's desperation to appease new generations took hold.

Wright was 67 when he lost his afternoon slot on Radio 2 in 2022. Scott Mills was the man tasked with replacing him.

His departure was just one in a long list of examples of the BBC forcing out its experienced talent for new shiny bright ideas from boss Helen Thomas.

Steve Wright

Steve Wright was a familiar and popular face to listeners for decades


Unfortunately for Thomas, the exodus of the corporation's much-loved presenters resulted in the exodus of a lot of listeners - Ken Bruce's replacement Vernon Kay lost a million in a matter of months.

When he announced his exit, Wright remained the professional he had been for so many years on the airwaves, praising Radio 2 for "the fantastic support and creative freedom" he'd been given.

And yet behind the scenes, it's understandable that Wright would've been hurting.

So much so, that a pal of Wright's spoke out earlier this week to say the legendary DJ "died of a broken heart" after being axed from his beloved slot.

Wright's friend hasn't been alone in their criticism of the BBC in the days since the 69-year-old's passing.

WATCH HERE: 'Makes me feel sick!' BBC blasted for just 'dumping' Steve Wright by Liz Kershaw

Liz Kershaw ripped the corporation apart on GB News for its treatment of Wright while he was alive - taking particular aim at Thomas and saying he was shelved "like a tin of beans".

Meanwhile, Thomas' own tribute to Wright was branded "tone deaf" and shameless" by BBC staffers due to the part she played in ripping Wright's slot from him, according to the Daily Mail.

Thomas was quoted as saying: "Steve understood the connection and companionship that radio engenders better than anyone, and we all loved him for it.

"He was a consummate professional whose attention to detail was always second to none, and he made his guests laugh, he was fair, and he wanted to showcase them and their work in the best possible light, bringing brilliant stories to our listeners."

Kind words to a man who had decades' worth of hard work torn from his grasp to make way for a bloke who spent taxpayer money on Evian that he could spit in celebrities' faces on Innuendo Bingo.

Now in an attempt to show just how much Wright meant to them, the BBC will dedicate a weekend's worth of programming to a man who spent the majority of his life working tirelessly for the corporation.

A BBC spokesperson has said: "We’ve been remembering Steve on air all week together with our presenters and listeners, and we’ll continue to celebrate his decades with the BBC this weekend.

Steve Wright died at the age of 69

Steve Wright died at the age of 69 earlier this week


"On BBC Four, audiences can catch his first ever Top of the Pops from 1980, on BBC Sounds there’s a special collection and this weekend’s Pick of the Pops and Sunday Love Songs will be dedicated to Steve, presented by Gary Davies and Liza Tarbuck.”

In fairness, if the BBC did nothing it would rightfully be slammed but this feels simply insincere given his elbowing out at the corporation in recent years.

After all, his colleagues clearly still held Wright close to their hearts with the likes of Sara Cox, Jo Whiley, Jeremy Vine, and dozens of others releasing statements in honour of the broadcasting great.

But when it comes to corporation bosses, I'm afraid allotting a weekend's content to a man they tossed to the sidelines after decades of hard work feels a truly hollow and empty gesture from the Beeb.

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