Entertainment & Arts

Sara Cox and Hugh Laurie join BBC Radio 2 schedule

Sara Cox and Hugh Laurie
Image caption Cox has previously covered shows on Radio 2

Sara Cox and Hugh Laurie have joined BBC Radio 2 as the station unveils its autumn schedule.

Cox, who recently covered Radio 1 DJ Fearne Cotton's maternity leave, will present the two-hour late night show Sounds Of The 80s from 5 October.

She said she was "completely over the moon" to be hosting the new Saturday show, adding it would play "the best music from the best decade".

Hugh Laurie's six-part series on the Blues will start on 23 September.

Each week, actor Laurie will play a song with his acclaimed Copper Bottom Band and will trace the history of one of America's great arts from the music of Robert Johnson through Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf to the Blues of today.

Steve Lamacq will disappear from the schedule, with Nigel Ogden: The Organist Entertains and Listen to the Band, presented by Frank Renton, replacing his Thursday evening Rock College show.

Lamacq, who presents BBC 6 Music's drivetime show, will return to Radio 2 in 2014 for a celebration of Britpop.

Cox has previously hosted shows on Radio 2, standing in for station regulars Claudia Winkleman and Vanessa Feltz.

Bob Shennan, controller of Radio 2, said: "Sounds Of The 80s was a show waiting to happen and I'm happy to be welcoming Sara to Radio 2."

"The show will perfectly complement two of the network's best loved programmes, Sounds of the 60s, presented by Brian Matthew, and Sounds of the 70s, hosted by Johnnie Walker."

Schedule changes

Jo Whiley's weeknight show will be extended from 90 minutes to two hours from 30 September. While Dave Pearce's Dance Years will return as a 13-part series in 2014.

Clare Teal's Sunday night show will be extended, as the network's two big band music shows combine into a single live two-hour programme every Sunday from 21.00-23.00.

The first session will be recorded in November and will feature award winning jazz vocalist Liane Carroll.

Teal said: "Big Band and swing music has been a passion of mine since I can remember. I feel honoured and so excited."

Further schedule changes include Russell Davies' show moving to Monday nights for 26 weeks a year, with Jools Holland returning for the remainder.

In November, Radio 2 will broadcast The Assassination of JFK: Minute by Minute, hosted by Dermot O'Leary and Jeremy Vine.

Fifty years after the event, the show will tell the story of the three hours from when President John F Kennedy was shot to Lyndon B Johnson's swearing-in on Air Force One.

Radio 2 is also marking the 50th Birthday of Doctor Who, with details on the programming to be announced soon.

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