Belfast Telegraph

Plans to mark Britpop anniversary

Presenters Jo Whiley and Steve Lamacq are to revive their on-air partnership when their Evening Session returns for a week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Britpop.

The pair championed many of the acts from the music scene of the time on their show, with acts such as Blur, Oasis and Pulp among the names at the forefront of the scene.

Jo and Steve worked together on the show for four years but it went on to be axed by Radio 1. Now it is to be revived for a new set of shows which will see it switching stations to BBC Radio 2 from April 6 to 11 as part of a range of Britpop programmes on the station - as well as 6 Music and BBC4 - to mark the two decades.

The duo will present their shows from the BBC's Maida Vale studios and will feature live performances from Chvrches and Sophie Ellis-Bextor, covering hits from the era. Guests in the studio will include Gaz Coombes of Supergrass, who will discuss their memories of the time, and there will be archive recordings revived from the programme's heyday.

Jo and Steve took over the Evening Session together in 1993 with Steve hosting it solo from 1997 to 2002. They briefly revived the programme for a one-off special on digital station 6 Music in 2010.

Jo said: "I will always jump at the chance to work with Steve. He is my radio 'other half' and we did fight the Britpop wars together after all.

"It was a great time to be a DJ on UK radio but, as ever, when you're in the eye of the storm, you are blissfully unaware. It's only in hindsight that you appreciate what a privilege it was to live and work through such an exciting time for British music."

Although some of the bands loosely grouped with the scene had already begun to emerge, it was not until 1994 that it had been christened Britpop.

At the time a number of British guitar bands, who drew heavily from the influence of 60s bands such as The Kinks, The Who and The Beatles enjoyed a wave of popularity, at a time when the popularity of US "grunge" acts was receding and Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain, had committed suicide.

Steve said of the celebration: "For me, this is the week 20 years ago that the musical tectonic plates shifted. On the Tuesday, Oasis played live on Radio 1 for the first time and on the Friday morning we heard the news of Kurt Cobain's death. It was as if one scene had announced it had arrived, as another began to lose its way."

Steve's regular afternoon 6 Music show will focus on Britpop and listeners to the station will be asked to choose their favourite track from the era for a special countdown.

Matt Everitt, the 6 Music presenter who had a Britpop career of his own as the drummer in Menswear, will talk about his experiences on Shaun Keaveny's breakfast show.

Radio 2's Jeremy Vine will also debate how the scene changed Britain, Stuart Maconie will present a documentary - Britpop: A Very British Pop - chronicling the era, and BBC4 will present a programme of archive performances from some of the bands of the time such as Elastica, Sleeper, and Suede.

Bob Shennan, controller Radio 2, 6 Music, Asian Network and popular music TV said, "Through our current line-up of presenters including those who lived, breathed and were central to the scene two decades ago, Britpop at the BBC will be bringing this era back to life once more."

More details of the season are at bbc.co.uk/Britpop.

From Belfast Telegraph