Trailblazing DJ Annie Nightingale dies at home aged 83 after 'short illness'

12 January 2024, 13:46 | Updated: 12 January 2024, 14:12

Annie Nightingale, BBC Radio 1's first female DJ, had died aged 83, the BBC has said.
Annie Nightingale, BBC Radio 1's first female DJ, had died aged 83, the BBC has said. Picture: Alamy/getty

By Asher McShane

Broadcasting icon Annie Nightingale has died at home after a short illness at the age of 83, the BBC has announced.

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Her family paid tribute to a “pioneer, trailblazer, and inspiration to many.”

Annie's family said in a statement: "Annie Nightingale MBE passed away yesterday at her home in London after a short illness.

"Annie was a pioneer, trailblazer and an inspiration to many. Her impulse to share that enthusiasm with audiences remained undimmed after six decades of broadcasting on BBC TV and radio globally.

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Annie pictured presenting the BBC TV music show 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' in the 1980s
Annie pictured presenting the BBC TV music show 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' in the 1980s. Picture: Getty

"Never underestimate the role model she became. Breaking down doors by refusing to bow down to sexual prejudice and male fear gave encouragement to generations of young women who, like Annie, only wanted to tell you about an amazing tune they had just heard.

"Watching Annie do this on television in the 1970s, most famously as a presenter on the BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test, or hearing her play the latest breakbeat techno on Radio One is testimony to someone who never stopped believing in the magic of rock 'n' roll.

"A celebration of her life will take place in the spring at a Memorial Service.

"The family request privacy at this time."

BBC Radio 1 has said it is "extremely saddened" by the news of her death.

She became their first female presenter when she joined the station in 1970.

Alongside a photo of the renowned DJ, the station wrote in post to social media: "BBC Radio 1 is extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Radio 1 DJ, Annie Nightingale CBE.

"Our deepest condolences are with Annie's friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.

"Rest in peace, Annie."

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