BBC presenters to scale new heights in piano challenge

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Presenters such as Nicky Campbell, Jane Garvey and Shaun Keaveny are to be transformed from complete novices to concert musicians for a BBC celebration of the piano.

Weather host Carol Kirkwood and silver medal-winning Olympic pentathlete Samantha Murray are also among the figures who will be given six weeks of training before potentially braving a gala show.

Their progress will be part of the six-week Piano Season across BBC TV and radio celebrating a single instrument.

The programmes will include increased coverage of the Leeds International Piano Competition with a series about the finalists on BBC4, and Radio 3 broadcasting the final live.

There will also be an edition of BBC1’s Imagine dedicated to globally renowned pianist Lang Lang to mark his 30th birthday.

The budding keyboardists – who also include Radio 1’s Dev, Tim Smith, from Radio 2’s Steve Wright Show, and Radio 3 jazz host Jez Nelson – will be put through their paces by an expert teacher, with the aim of making it to a gala concert in Cardiff in aid of Children in Need. The performance on October 29 will be broadcast live on Radio 3.

Radio 3’s contribution to Piano Season will see artists such as Lang Lang, the Labeque Sisters and Malcolm Martineau sharing their musical inspirations, as well as hearing from experts such as David Owen Norris and Peter Donohoe.