Many industries have been hit hard by Covid, including the entertainment sector. Theatres have been shut and productions cancelled or postponed, and although a few have moved online, it's not the same as being there in person.

It's obviously been tough for actors and those who work in theatre, but it's also been disappointing for audiences. However, the BBC has been doing its best to plug the gap.

Last weekend, Radio 2 celebrated musicals. Numerous shows got in on the act – on January 29, Sounds of the 80s and Sounds of the 90s were taken over by Dream Girls star Jennifer Holliday and musical theatre veteran Jason Donovan respectively, who celebrated some of the decades' best productions.

The station's own West End legend, Elaine Paige, was naturally involved, presenting a countdown of the nation's favourite show tunes.

She said: "Musicals are such a huge part of my life, as they are for so many of my friends and colleagues, so to be unable to perform or go to the theatre for most of last year was devastating for us all. Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals is a way for us all to come together, to be uplifted and sing out loud to the world's best show tunes."

The centrepiece of the weekend was Musicals: The Greatest Show, presented by Sheridan Smith from the London Palladium. And now BBC1 is giving us a chance to see it as well as hear it.

Sheridan, whose musical theatre credits include an Olivier Award-winning turn in Legally Blonde and an acclaimed revival of Funny Girl, in which she held her own in a role indelibly associated with Barbra Streisand, says: "I'm thrilled to be hosting this wonderful show from The London Palladium for Radio 2 and BBC1. With so many amazing performers we're going to hopefully bring some joy to all those at home, with the best songs to help lift the spirits in these very difficult times."

The songs we'll hear tonight include I Know Him So Well from Chess, which became a chart-topping duet for Elaine and Barbara Dickson, and is now being performed by Sheridan and Amanda Holden. (Paige herself will also be appearing on the show to chat to Idina Menzel)

Nicole Scherzinger belts out Never Enough from The Greatest Showman in a performance recorded in Los Angeles, Gavin Spokes, from the West End production of Hamilton, delivers You'll Be Back, and Michael Ball revisits one of his past hits with You Can't Stop The Beat from Hairspray.

There are also showstoppers from Mamma Mia and Phantom of the Opera, and a reminder that musicals are still thriving with selections from newer shows such as Six, Everyone's Talking About Jamie and Dear Evan Hansen, as well as Cinderella, which features a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a script by Emerald 'Camilla from The Crown' Fennell, and, restrictions allowing, is due to open this year.

But until that curtains go up again, we've got Musicals: The Greatest Show to tide us over.

  • Musicals: The Greatest Show (BBC1, Sunday 7.40pm)