BBC Radio 2 heads to Summer of ’96 for season of nostalgia

bbc radio 2 summer of '96

BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds are heading back to the 90s this summer, with a roster of fab tunes and tributes from the summer of ’96.

During June, July and August, the station will celebrate the fab Summer of ’96, including Richard E Grant presenting Spice Up Your Life! about Spice Girls’ incredible launch into the music world; My Life In A Mixtape with Mel C; Gabby Logan presents Euro 96 – When Football Came Home, reliving that memorable tournament and the news and music around it; and Beatles: Reborn In ’96 about the band’s resurgence to a whole new audience, following the release of their Anthology series and much more.

There’s also a celebration of jazz great Louis Armstrong to mark the anniversaries of both his birth and death. Romesh Ranganathan: For The Love Of Hip Hop is a new series about hip hop, presented by Ranganathan giving a beginner’s guide to the music. 

Legacy Of A Lioness: Amy Winehouse marks 10 years since the young singer’s death; and Scott Mills celebrates 35 years of his favourite soap, Neighbours.

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, said: “Whether it’s enjoying the timeless appeal of artists such as The Beatles, Louis Armstrong or Amy Winehouse, being given an introduction to hip hop by Romesh Ranganathan or reliving the joy and pain of Euro 96, there’s something for everyone on Radio 2 this summer.”

Summer Of ’96 Season

To mark 25 years since Euro 96, this summer Radio 2 and BBC Sounds presents a season of specials taking listeners back 25 years to that extraordinary summer. 

The programmes look back at the music, the movies, the sport and the news stories, alongside the memories of those who were there, in stadiums, in cinemas, and watching and listening at home. 

As well as on BBC Radio 2, all the shows will be available on the BBC Sounds app, just search for Summer of 96.

The Sounds Of 1996 (Saturday 26 June, 9pm-10pm)

Another chance to hear this reversioned programme in which Fearne Cotton introduces an audio collage of 1996 – the year of Euro 96 and football ‘coming home’.

It was also the year of Damon Hill’s biggest Formula One success, while Michael Johnson won both the 200m and 400m at the Olympics. Tragedies in Dunblane and Manchester dominated the news. The film adaptation of Trainspotting was met with both outrage and acclaim.

And while Take That went their separate ways, a new pop sensation, the Spice Girls, couldn’t wait to ‘zig-a-zig-ah!’

  • A Trevor Dann’s Company production

Beatles: Reborn In ’96 (Sunday 27 June, 9-10pm)

Twenty five years ago The Beatles wrapped up their past and discovered a future. In late 1995/early 1996 the Anthology series – three double CDs and a multi-part TV documentary – came out, and, as a result, The Beatles sold more records in a single year that at any point since they broke up.

To millions of younger fans they were a new band, and a new generation of Beatle fans were born. Geoff Lloyd tells the story of the Anthology and talks to some of those new fans to discover why The Beatles became teen sensations all over again, 30 years after Beatlemania.

But that’s not all. The success of the Anthology kickstarted a whole legacy business for the music industry and, with the advent of file sharing and digital downloads, came the musical era of the eternal present – when everything is available all the time, and the only thing that matters is, is it any good?

How does an artist buy into that if they’re a musician with a past? And how do The Beatles service the huge new audience they’ve suddenly gained?

Essentially, by presenting them as a new and exciting band, and re-running their career with a series of groundbreaking releases that refresh and update the catalogue, culminating in this year’s release of Peter Jackson’s Get Back film.

  • A BBC Audio production

Pick Of The Pops: 1996 (Saturday 3 July, 1pm-3pm)

Paul Gambaccini counts downs this week’s chart from 1996, with hits including Oh Yeah from Ash, The Fugees’ Killing Me Softly and Don’t Stop Movin’ from Livin’ Joy, plus there’ll be another chart from this week from a different year.

  • A 7digital production

Spice Up Your Life! (Saturday 3 July, 9pm-10pm)

Radio 2 marks the anniversary of the Spice Girls’ debut single – Wannabe – and the start of their global domination of the music world that followed its release.

Actor Richard E Grant, who was in the movie Spice World, embarks on a nostalgic journey revisiting the much-loved songs of the Spice Girls canon. Since Wannabe was released in 1996, the girls began a journey which led to them selling 90m records around the world, as well as winning American Music Awards, ASCAP Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Brit Awards, MTV Europe Music Awards, and Ivor Novello Awards. Even now, 25 years on, the opening ‘Yooooo’ to the track still has the power to provoke a big reaction.

He’ll be speaking to some of the UK’s biggest Spice Girl superfans – including one who spent more than £200k on merchandise, plus famous names such as KT Tunstall, Mollie King, Zoe Ball, Heather Small, Mutya Buena, Claire Richards and Olly Murs – to get to the heart of what the group and girl power meant then and what it still means today. This programme will be a joyful celebration of fandom, girl power, the music of the 90s and above all, the Spice Girls!

Grant said: “I’m thrilled to be presenting this programme for Radio 2 as I have so many fond memories of my time filming the Spice Girls movie and feeling the full force of Girl Power in action!

“They were such a phenomena and I can’t believe we’re celebrating their 25th Anniversary.”

  • A Spiritland Productions production

My Life In A Mixtape with Mel C (4 July, 9pm-10pm)

Melanie Chisholm – aka Mel C and Sporty Spice – takes listeners on a very personal mix-tape journey, sharing the stories behind the songs that have been the soundtrack to her life.

With Stevie Wonder as one of her earliest memories, music has always played a huge part in Mel’s life. From Madonna to Blur via the fabulous Lizzo and many more, each track she selects evokes a memory of a time and place, as she journeys from childhood to the present day, playing the tunes that have been the accompaniment to her life.

Mel C said: “It’s going to be a wonderful trip down memory lane, sharing some of my very favourite tunes and the memories they take me to with Radio 2 listeners.”

  • A BBC Scotland production

6 Films You Loved In 1996 (Sunday 4 July)

Movie critic James King celebrates the summer of ’96 with a look at the making of six seminal films released that year. For each film there’s a look behind the curtain at how they were made, starting with the man who made that year’s most memorable summer blockbuster, Mission Impossible, possible – stunt coordinator Greg Powell.

There’s Bafta-winning filmmaker Mike Leigh and Oscar-nominated actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste discussing their acclaimed British drama, Secrets & Lies. John Morris tells James about voicing Andy in the hugely popular family animation Toy Story. Actor Myriam Francois discusses filming acclaimed period drama Sense And Sensibility alongside Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. Two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins takes us behind the camera of cult Coen Brothers drama, Fargo. And finally, James takes a look at how a small British film called Trainspotting became an international cultural phenomenon.

  • A BBC Audio production

This July marks the 50th anniversary since we lost one of the most influential jazz artists in history, Louis Armstrong. Radio 2 honours the legendary artists with a range of programmes:

Louis Armstrong Remembered by Gregory Porter (Sunday 1 August, 9pm-10pm)

Gregory Porter celebrates Louis Armstrong’s incredible musical achievements, paying tribute to his unique vocal style and trailblazing musicianship, as well as the importance of his success as a black man in a very divided society through the decades. Hear Gregory express his own gratitude for Satchmo’s legacy as he handpicks the tracks which mean the most to him and details how they inspired his own sound.

Porter said: “I am celebrating the music of arguably the greatest jazz musician in history. He has influenced music the world over – mine included – and continues to do so, even 50 years after the world lost him. He sang so many songs about coming together, and about love, this is something I am constantly trying to do in my own writing, that is how Satch has influenced me. The freedom that he expressed in his musicianship and through his instrument, of putting his personality, his style and even his smile into his music is truly beautiful, and it is my honour to remember this truly great artist with BBC Radio 2.”

  • A Mostest production

Satchmo By Satchmo: The Louis Armstrong Tapes (Sunday 1 August, 2am-3am)

Broadcaster and journalist Paul Sexton takes a visit to the Louis’ private tape vault. Paul sets the scene for a unique review of great man’s life and times – unique because it’s by Louis himself, talking about his life and times in largely unheard home recordings. He was one of the first artists to embrace reel-to-reel home tape technology and loved to record his own voice for posterity, whenever the occasion allowed, from around 1950 (when he had already been an artist for some 30 years) until shortly before his death in 1971.

  • A Wise Buddah production

Louis Armstrong: Behind The Music (Sunday 1 August, 3-4am): Sir Michael Parkinson profiles Louis Armstrong who was one of his heroes – a man famed for his charismatic stage presence and instantly recognisable voice, almost as much as for his trumpet playing. Nicknamed Satchmo, his influence extended well beyond jazz music and, by the end of his career in the 1960s, he was widely regarded as a major influence on popular music in general. First broadcast in 2011. A Made In Manchester production.

The Jazz Show with Jamie Cullum: Louis Armstrong Special (Tuesday 27 July, 9pm-10pm)

Jamie Cullum presents a special tribute to Louis, as the jazz world prepares to celebrate his 120th birthday. Jamie will pick his favourite Satchmo classics and hear from contemporary trumpeters inspired by Armstrong about their first encounters with the great man’s music.

Finally, he’ll dust off something special from the BBC archives featuring the gravel voiced giant of 20th century music, whose legacy stretches from New Orleans to across the globe.

Jamie Cullum said: “There are few figures that had a bigger impact on 20th century music than Louis Armstrong – emerging out of the melting pot of early New Orleans jazz to become one of the world’s most popular musicians.

“His songs have been a frequent fixture on the stereo throughout my life, and his influence on generations of musicians is incalculable. I regularly play his timeless music on my show already – but I’m really looking forward to celebrating Satchmo in a bigger way this Summer on BBC Radio 2.”

  • A Folded Wing production