Entertainment & Arts

6 Music to mark 10th anniversary

Lauren Laverne
Image caption Lauren Laverne will host a week of special sessions at Maida Vale Studios

BBC Radio 6 Music is to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a series of special programming.

The digital station will take over London's Southbank Centre on 16 March with performances from acts including Laura Marling and Anna Calvi.

There will also be a week of special live sessions from Maida Vale studios hosted by Lauren Laverne which will be available to watch live online.

The station will mark its 10th birthday on-air on Sunday 11 March.

It launched in 2002, with Ash's single Burn Baby Burn the first song played by then-breakfast show host Phill Jupitus.

The station was part of the BBC's suite of digital-only services, designed to drive uptake of DAB radio sets. Other stations launched in 2002 (albeit on different dates) included urban music station 1 Xtra and BBC 7, now rebranded as Radio 4 Extra.

But 6 Music, which focuses on the "alternative spirit" in rock music that emerged in the 1960s, was threatened with closure in February 2010, as part of cost-cutting measures at the BBC.

The proposal to close the station was eventually rejected by the BBC Trust after a vocal campaign by listeners.

In making its decision, the trust said 6 Music was "well-liked by its listeners, was highly distinctive and made an important contribution" to the BBC's public service remit.

Unexpectedly, the incident acted as an advertising campaign for the station, which has since seen its audience more than double. The latest radio listening figures, published last week, showed that 1.4 million people regularly tune in.

Sold out

The birthday event at the Southbank Centre will come from three of the venue's performance spaces.

Marling and Lianne La Havas will perform sets in the Purcell Room, while Calvi, Gruff Rhys, Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny will be in the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Tickets for both shows sold out within hours of being announced on Monday morning, however there will also be a free public event with live entertainment from the Front Room.

A special BBC Red Button programme, featuring all the performances will be available from 19 - 26 March.

And during February and March, Sunday afternoons will play host to the new feature - 6 Music Playlist - where well-known faces will give listeners an insight into their favourite tracks.

Lauren Laverne's week of Maida Vale sessions will feature the likes of Spiritualized and Orbital, amongst others.

"´╗┐This has been an incredible first decade for Radio 6 Music," Bob Shennan, controller for BBC Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music, said.

"It has proved itself as a unique and much loved service and a real showcase for the music that encapsulates the alternative spirit.

"I am proud that it has played such a key role in encouraging the take-up of digital radio across the nation," he said.

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