Paul Gambaccini to host Radio 2's Pick Of The Pops

Paul Gambaccini is to replace Tony Blackburn as the presenter of BBC Radio 2′s Pick Of The Pops.

He will front the popular Saturday afternoon show, known for playing music centred on two years from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Paul said: “I am honoured to be asked to present one of Britain’s iconic radio programmes. I will strive to meet the standards of my illustrious predecessors including Alan Freeman and Tony Blackburn.”

Paul was cleared of sexual offences under Operation Yewtree, after being arrested on suspicion of historical sex crimes in 2013.

Tony was fired by the BBC following the Dame Janet Smith inquiry into sexual abuse at the corporation, because his evidence to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse inquiry “fell short” of the standards demanded, according to BBC Director General Tony Hall.

Former Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton is returning to host Graham Norton’s Radio 2 slot with Martin Kemp, while Norton takes a summer break.

Fearne, who was last on Radio 1 in May 2015, said: “I can’t wait to get back on the radio, so to be presenting on Radio 2 this summer on Saturday mornings with Martin Kemp is going to be absolutely brilliant.”

Martin said: “Radio 2, Fearne Cotton, every Saturday through the summer! When they asked me to work with Radio 2 I never expected this! It’s gonna be a great way to spend my Saturday mornings … chatting to great guests, some fun and games and playing my favourite tracks with one of the most experienced radio DJs out there! Now things are really warming up … Roll on the summer!!”

Fern Britton will step into Clare Balding’s radio shoes to host Good Morning Sunday while Balding is at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Fern said: “Radio is a real passion of mine and I’ve always had a thoroughly brilliant time every time I’ve previously sat in the hot seat. I’m looking forward to spending my summer holidays with the Radio 2 audience.”

Other highlights include a special called Bill Nighy’s Record Collection: Restored, which will delve into the stories behind Nighy’s impressive vinyl record collection which was lost a few years ago when his house was flooded.

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons also returns with I Love It Loud: The Gene Simmons Rock Show, to bring the best of classic rock to listeners.

Broadcaster Eve Pollard will host a special programme called Our Queen: 90 Musical Years to celebrate the life of the monarch through music.

Eve said: “Putting this programme together for Radio 2 has been an absolute joy. I had no idea that the Queen was so musical and that her musical taste would be so ‘popular’. The show was great fun to make and I hope the audience enjoy listening to it as much as I did making it.”

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