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Radio 2 celebrates Rajar performance with new line-up

LONDON – Fresh from a successful set of Rajar listening figures, BBC Radio 2 has unveiled a new line up that sees TV presenter Dermot O'Leary, and singers Elaine Paige and Lulu join the station in autumn as part of a schedule revamp.

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O'Leary, presenter of Channel 4's 'Big Brother's Little Brother' and the BBC's 'SAS: Are You Tough Enough?', will host a new show on Saturdays between 2pm and 4pm. Called 'Dermot's Saturday Club', Radio 2 says the show will be "packed with features, top quality music and competitions".

Music in the show will include many first-time broadcasts along with live sessions from artists. There will also be an interactive 'club' feel.

According to O'Leary, who is a former Xfm presenter: "To be presenting with a jetstream of such giants as Jonathan Ross and Terry Wogan is brilliant but a bit scary."

Musical actress Elaine Paige of 'Cats' fame, will also present a new show on Sundays, which will feature music from stage and screen and will air between 1pm and 2pm.

Sixties songstress Lulu will also have a Sunday show, between 3.30pm and 5pm, which will celebrate the art of songwriting. The iconic British singer's weekly show will feature songs from the Fifties through to the present day.

The new line up adds to a range of new shows from the staion's existing presenters. Mark Lamarr will host a new show on Saturday nights featuring the coolest sixties tracks from both sides of the Atlantic including soul, R'n'B, country, ska and pop.

Lamarr already presents reggae and rock n roll shows on Radio 2 , but this will be his first weekly show.

Other Radio 2 presenters include Steve Wright and Mark Radcliffe.

Radio 2 posted its best Rajar figures yet yesterday, recording audience reach of 13.4m, an increase of 530,000 from the last quarter. Share is up to 16.2% from 15.3%.

Under the supervision of head of radio Jenny Abramsky, the station has under gone a revamp of late, moving away from its cardigans and slippers reputation to policy of playing the widest range of music possible.

In May, the station lured Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt to narrate a documentary on the story of cult singer-songwriter Nick Drake, who died virtually unknown in 1974 at the age of 26.

Other documentaries have included a one-hour special on Nirvana and a show on acid house, called 'The Second Summer of Love'.

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