Radio 1’s first lady Annie Nightingale ‘deeply honoured’ by CBE

Veteran broadcaster Annie Nightingale said she is “deeply honoured” to be recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Nightingale, 79, was the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 and remains its longest serving host, celebrating her 50th anniversary next year.

She is being awarded a CBE for services to radio.

Nightingale Kershaw Sony Radio Awards
Nightingale Kershaw Sony Radio Awards

Responding to the news, Nightingale said: “To receive the CBE? Coolest big-up ever. I am deeply honoured, and thank everyone I’ve ever worked with, who’s made it possible.”

Nightingale received an MBE in 2002 and recalled the occasion with typical elan.

She said: “When I received the MBE in 2002, it was a riot. Literally, snipers on the roof of Buckingham Palace; it was May Day, the then annual day for legal protesting. But it all got out of hand.

“All the streets were cordoned off, police horses and riot shields everywhere. I’d organised a party to celebrate, near Radio1. We had to stay inside the bar all day and evening. Anyone who ventured outside got kettled.”

She added: “It’s my 50th anniversary with Radio 1 in 2020, a milestone no other broadcaster there has ever achieved (me neither yet!), so there’s even more to celebrate. I wonder what will happen this time?”

Nightingale first broadcast on the BBC in 1963 as a panellist on Juke Box Jury, before joining Radio 1 seven years later.

She remained the station’s only female DJ until 1982, when Janice Long joined, and is credited with helping to pave the way for the likes of Sara Cox, Jo Whiley and Zoe Ball.

As a DJ she has travelled the world, and once said she had been “mugged in Cuba, drugged in Baghdad and bugged in Russia”.

During her trailblazing career, she was the first woman to present the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test music show which aired on BBC Two and has written two autobiographical books.

She currently hosts a Radio 1 show every Friday between 3am-5am.