BBC Radio 2 and BBC One are raising the curtain with a very special show direct from the West End, the US and beyond featuring a glittering cast of UK and international stars performing songs from the musicals in Musicals: The Greatest Show. It forms the centrepiece of Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals, three days of programmes featuring the music of stage and screen for people to enjoy from the comfort of their own homes, including playing just songs from Musical Theatre and film across a whole day; and further programming on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.
With venues currently unable to open to the public, Musicals: The Greatest Show is a celebration of the nation’s favourite songs and performers from the world of musical theatre.
Hosted on radio and television by multi-award winning performer Sheridan Smith, it puts the songs, the shows, and the stars, back on stage at the world famous London Palladium. It will be broadcast from 7-9pm on Sunday 31st January on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and as a 75 mins show in February on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will be available on BBC iPlayer for a year after broadcast. The tv show wants the public to be part of the action too by making a video of themselves performing Any Dream Will Do from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat! By uploading footage via the website they’ll have the chance to be part of this very special moment on BBC One. Full details and terms and conditions are at bbc.co.uk/musicals.
From Friday 29th January to Sunday 31st January, for Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals the station has lined up an incredible array of music, programmes and documentaries. On Friday between 5am to 7pm on Radio 2, each song broadcast will be one of the greatest ever songs from Musical Theatre and film, plus a national sing-a-long moment will take place in Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show. There will be musical stars as guest presenters for Sounds of the 60s, 70s, 80 and 90s, and on the Sunday multi-award winning star of musical theatre Elaine Paige reveals the results of the listener vote to discover their favourite song from a musical, plus so much more across the three days.
Elaine Paige, Radio 2 presenter, said: “Musicals are such a huge part of my life – as they are for so many of my friends and colleagues – so to be unable to perform or go to the theatre for most of last year was devastating for us all. Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals is a way for us all to come together, to be uplifted and sing out loud to the world’s best show tunes.”
Sheridan Smith says: “I’m thrilled to be hosting this wonderful show from The London Palladium for Radio 2 and BBC One. With so many amazing performers we’re going to hopefully bring some joy to all those at home, with the best songs to help lift the spirits in these very difficult times.”
Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, said: “2020 left a gaping hole in the lives of musical theatre lovers with the shows being closed due to the pandemic. So instead, we’ll bring the musicals to listeners and viewers on Radio 2 and across BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds. I truly hope our programming will help to lift the spirits and capture the joy and elation that only these wonderful songs and performers can bring.”
Kate Phillips, Channel Controller, BBC One, said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with Radio 2 to bring a fantastic array of talented artists to BBC One. Viewers will get the chance to see and hear many iconic songs from some of the best of musicals at a time when visiting theatres just isn’t possible.”
In Musicals: The Greatest Show, Sheridan introduces spectacular performances from West End and Broadway favourites.
Highlights – some exclusively for the Radio 2 broadcast – include (and please note, plans are subject to change at short notice):
Amanda Holden and Sheridan Smith perform I Know Him So Well from Chess. The song, originally performed by Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson, reached Number 1 in the UK Pop Charts in 1985 remains the best-selling song by a female duo.
Nicole Scherzinger with Never Enough from The Greatest Showman – with her performance recorded in Los Angeles.
Exclusively for Radio 2, Josh Groban sings The Impossible Dream from Man Of La Mancha – with his vocal performance recorded in Los Angeles.
Exclusively for Radio 2, Elaine Paige with Sunset Boulevard’s As If We Never Said Goodbye; Elaine made her Broadway debut in Sunset Boulevard in 1996.
Gavin Spokes, from the West End production of Hamilton, performs You’ll Be Back
Michael Ball performs You Can’t Stop The Beat from Hairspray.
Sheridan Smith performs Don’t Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl.
An exclusive first performance by Ivano Turco of Only You, Lonely You from Cinderella (which is due to open in London in 2021).
The cast of SIX The Musical performing SIX.
Ramin Karimloo sings The Music Of The Night from The Phantom Of The Opera.
The three West End lead actors of MAMMA MIA! perform Dancing Queen.
Aisha Jawando of the West End production of TINA, The Tina Turner Musical performs The Best.
Lea Salonga performs I Dreamed A Dream from Les Misérables – with her performance recorded in Manila.
Layton Williams of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie performs The Wall In My Head.
Sam Tutty sings You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, alongside members of the West End cast.
Nicole Raquel Dennis of Dreamgirls with And I Am Telling You.
Kerry Ellis sings Defying Gravity from Wicked.
Exclusively for Radio 2, Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime perform the Oscar-winning song When You Believe from The Prince Of Egypt.
Jac Yarrow, with the public, performing Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Musicals: The Greatest Show is a TBI production for Radio 2 and BBC One.
On Friday 29th January, Sheridan launches a brand new on demand Musicals show on BBC Sounds where she will be joined by a different well known guest in each episode, whether a stage performer themselves or simply a big fan of musicals. A BBC Audio production.
Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st January. On Friday 29th January, the network features a playlist completely comprised of the greatest ever songs from Musical Theatre and film, from 5am to 7pm. On the Breakfast Show, Zoe Ball leads a listener sing-a-long with an uplifting and heart-warming track from a favourite musical. Ken Bruce’s guest for Tracks Of My Years from Monday to Friday is the one and only Elaine Paige, and American musical theatre actor, Marisha Wallace, is doing the House Music Session (Thursday 28th January). Jeremy Vine explores the joy of musical theatre and its power to move and inspire us, and is joined by musicals aficionado Pippa Evans as he asks listeners what is their all-time favourite musical (12-2pm). Sara Cox is playing all the listeners’ favourite songs from the West End, Broadway and Hollywood musicals with an All Request Friday (5-7pm). All BBC Audio productions. Musicals are the theme for OJ Borg’s Midnight Mastermind quiz from Monday to Friday, and on the Friday night OJ has a musicals inspired Yawn Chorus, discovering the hidden am-dram singing voices from nightshifts across the UK (midnight-3am, 25th -29th Jan). An Audio Always production.
There are Musicals editions Sounds of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s with guest presenters including Jennifer Holliday, a Tony Award winner from the original cast of Dreamgirls, presenting SOT80s (8-10pm, Friday 29th January) – a Listen production; and Jason Donovan, who played the lead in Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat presenting SOT90s (10pm-midnight, Friday 29th January) – a Somethin’ Else production.
On Saturday 30th January, Dermot O’Leary welcomes Dexter Fletcher (directed Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody and played Babyface in Bugsy Malone) and John Owen Jones (Jean Valjean, Les Misérables and Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera) as his guests. An Ora et Labora production. That night is part one of First Cast, where big names and big songs combine in this revealing reunion presented by Ben Thompson with stars and creative driving forces of the original production of Cats sharing their memories. Contributors include Paul Nicholas, Bonnie Langford, Wayne Sleep, Seeta Indrani, Myra Sands, Donald Waugh and Femi Taylor, together with Brian Blessed and Elaine Paige telling their stories about the dances, the songs, the camaraderie, disasters, nerves and tensions of this well-loved production (9-10pm, with part two on Sunday night). First broadcast in December, 2019 – a Telesgop Cyf production.
On Sunday 31st January, in Good Morning Sunday Revd. Kate Bottley and Jason Mohammed put the spotlight on what else, but Jesus Christ Superstar (6-9am)! A BBC Audio production. Michael Ball will be joined by West End star Gary Wilmot, and two surprise names will play an On the Ball musicals special (11am-1pm). A Listen production. Afterwards, Elaine Paige reveals the results of a listener vote to discover the nation’s all-time favourite song from a musical. From a long list of 50 classics spanning nine decades, Elaine counts down the Top 20 greatest ever songs from stage and screen musicals, playing all the tracks as voted for by Radio 2 listeners (1pm-3pm). Paul O’Grady’s triple plays are tracks that originally came from Broadway and West End shows plus there’s a Broadway inspired Cocktail Recipe of the Week (5-7pm). All BBC Audio productions. And rounding of an incredible three days of music is Musicals: The Greatest Show (7-9pm). A TBI production.
In January and February, BBC Four will be broadcasting West Side Stories: The Making of a Classic, Sings Musicals, Imagine – Cameron Mackintosh: The Musical Man, and Imagine – Andrew Lloyd Webber: Memories.
BBC iPlayer has Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, the documentary following the story of teenager Jamie Campbell who wants to be a drag queen and which led to the creation of the West End musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; plus Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy and Writers Guild of America Award winning Fosse/Verdon, an 8-part series starring Sam Rockwell as musical director and choreographer Bob Fosse and Michelle Williams as Broadway and screen dancer Gwen Verdon. It tells the story of the famous couple’s troubled personal and professional relationship. There are also the following musical films available to watch on BBC iPlayer, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat, The Sky’s the Limit and A Damsel in Distress.
All those involved in Musicals: The Greatest Show will be adhering to Government Guidelines regarding travelling for work and the production is adhering to strict COVID-19 secure measures at all times for all filming locations.
Musicals: The Greatest Show is a TBI Production. The Executive producers are Andrew Wyke, TBI’s Director of Events, and Phil Critchlow. The Producer for BBC One is Christian Fletcher. Rachel Ashdown is Commissioning Editor for BBC Television and Laura Busson Commissioning Executive for BBC Radio 2.