BBC radio stars lead the nation in a mass singalong

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image captionGreg James, Dermot O'Leary, Lauren Laverne, Dotty and Harpz Kaur hosted the broadcast from separate studios

UK radio listeners formed a nationwide choir on Thursday, as five BBC stations teamed up for a communal singalong.

For the first time, Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, 1 Xtra and Asian Network all broadcast the same programme, designed to lift spirits during the lockdown.

"This is a unique moment," said Radio 1's Greg James. "Isolation doesn't mean you have to be lonely."

Songs were suggested by listeners, with choices including Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline and Prince's Raspberry Beret.

Radio 1's audience submitted Florence + The Machine's You Got The Love, while 1 Xtra listeners chose Toast, an uplifting reggae-soul song by up-and-coming Jamaican artist Koffee.

"For anyone hearing this for the first time, I promise it's exactly what we need right now," said 1 Xtra's breakfast host Dotty, calling Toast "the most uplifting song I've heard in years".

"If you don't know it, nod your head and raise a glass of orange juice".

Asian network listeners selected Puanjabi MC's infectiously catchy bhangra anthem Mundian To Bach Ke.

During the broadcast, people were encouraged to film themselves singing along and post videos on social media.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Several BBC presenters joined the fun from home, too.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Greg James kicked off the simulcast just after 09:00 BST, explaining: "Radio is brilliant at bringing people together, and at this time its power is magnetised."

"Radio is a great pal to all of us. We'd love to see you singing along ... This is a massive, brilliant community."

Indeed, radio listening has increased dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC says live streaming of its networks has risen by 18%. Global, which owns Capital FM, Heart and talk station LBC; and Bauer, whose stations include Absolute and Magic, have both seen listening increase by 15%.

Lorna Clarke, the controller for BBC Popular Music, said: "In these challenging times, we know that many people have been turning to radio as a lifeline.

"The live broadcasts from our amazing presenters are providing people with a sense of community and some much-needed escapism at a time where many of us are feeling distant from our loved ones."

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