Radio 1 DJ and former Argus reporter Annie Nightingale dies at 83 Brighton News

Annie began reviewing records in her Spin With Me column in the Evening Argus in the early 1960s at just 19 years old and was the only woman writing for the paper.

“I was a general reporter and I’d done everything,” she told BBC 6 Music host Lauren Laverne in 2020.

“They’d said they wouldn’t have me because I hadn’t got the right background, but it was just as well they gave me an opportunity because it was the most wonderful training you could have.

The Argus: Annie with Stella McCartney in 1999Annie with Stella McCartney in 1999 (Image: PA)

“You didn’t think it at the time, covering things like parish council meetings or court reporting but I was learning so much.

“To make something out of one paragraph is much more difficult – the big stories write themselves.

“I still didn’t know what was coming. You have to believe in yourself and try and follow your dreams.”

Annie, originally from Osterley, Middlesex, later became the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 in 1970 and remains the station’s longest-serving host, celebrating her 50th anniversary at the station in 2020.

The Argus: Annie was the first female host on Radio 1Annie was the first female host on Radio 1 (Image: PA)

She is also the only woman DJ in the world to have been honoured with an MBE by the Queen.

Annie joined the weekly Brighton and Hove Gazette in the 1960s before she was promoted to The Argus.

She had two children, Alex and Lucy, with first husband Gordon Thomas. The pair divorced by 1970 and Annie went married actor Binky Baker, which also ended in divorce.

In a statement reported by the BBC this afternoon (January 12), Annie’s family said: “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.

The Argus: A memorial service will be held in the springA memorial service will be held in the spring (Image: PA)

“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.

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“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 1 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.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-12 13:48:16

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