Annie Nightingale has died (Picture: Virginia Turbett/Redferns)
Her family announced her passing with 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,’ the tribute read.
‘Her impulse to share that enthusiasm with audiences remained undimmed after six decades of broadcasting on BBC TV and radio globally.’
Nightingale joined the station in 1970, and for 12 years she was the only woman on the line-up. Up until last year, she remained on-air hosting Annie Nightingale Presents.
The family celebrated the BBC’s first-ever female presenter’s incredible career: ‘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.
Nightingale worked at BBC Radio One (Credits: David Fisher/REX)
‘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. Alex, Lucy, Ollie and Will.’
Nightingale remained on-air until last year (Picture: Rex/Getty)
BBC Radio 1 has said it is ‘extremely saddened’ at the news.
Alongside a photo of the renowned DJ, the station wrote in a 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.’
Nightingale presented Radio 1’s Request show for decades (Picture: Peter Stone/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Nightingale presented Radio 1’s Request Show from the 1970s to the 90s and was also known co-hosting BBC Two music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Despite her long career, Nightingale never lost her love for the job.
‘Every week, in my job, is a new adventure. I enjoy it. People don’t understand. Most people get bored with pop music when they’re a certain age. I go on being interested in where it’s going, the twists and turns,’ she told BBC.
BBC Director-General, Tim Davie fondly recalled how she ‘blessed’ us with her talent.
‘I’m deeply saddened by Annie’s passing and our thoughts are with her family, many friends and the whole of Radio 1,’ he began.
‘Annie was a uniquely gifted broadcaster who blessed us with her love of music and passion for journalism, for over 50 years. As well as being a trailblazer for new music, she was a champion for female broadcasters, supporting and encouraging other women to enter the industry.
‘We will all miss her terribly.’
Nightingale, pictured with Spinal Tap, was described as world-class (Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)
Similar sentiments were shared by the Head of BBC Radio 1 Aled Haydn Jones who described Annie as ‘world class’.
‘All of us at Radio 1 are devastated to lose Annie, our thoughts are with her family and friends.
‘Annie was a world class DJ, broadcaster and journalist, and throughout her entire career was a champion of new music and new artists. She was the first female DJ on Radio 1 and over her 50 years on the station was a pioneer for women in the industry and in dance music.
‘We have lost a broadcasting legend and, thanks to Annie, things will never be the same,’ he concluded.
Jo Whiley has been inspired by Nightingale (Picture: Instagram/Jo Whiley)
Radio DJ Jo Whiley celebrated the personal impact Nightingale had on her.
‘My hero. My inspiration. Thank you for it all Annie. Cool as f**k to the end,’ she wrote on Instagram.
BBC presenter Zoe Ball shared her tribute to the ‘incredible powerhouse’ and ‘original trailblazer’.
‘Annie Nightingale ✨✨✨ Heartbroken to hear the news. Annie was an incredible powerhouse. Truly The OG, the original trailblazer for us women in radio, on and off air,’ she typed.
‘She loved music like no other, she sought out the tunes & artists that shaped our lives, she interviewed them all, opening doors for musicians, djs and broadcasters alike.
‘She regaled the greatest tales and she could outlast any of us at the party. So grateful for all the love & support she offered me over the years. Sending huge love to Alex and her loved ones & fans. What a dame. Rest well Annie. The best of the best.’
DJ Annie Mac also posted a long tribute on Instagram, showing once again how special Nightingale was to so many people in the industry.
‘This is the woman who changed the face and sound of British TV and Radio broadcasting forever. You can’t underestimate it,’ she stated.
Nightingale was celebrated by her colleagues (Picturee: DZ/REX)
‘Before Annie Nightingale came on Radio 1, it was legitimately believed by BBC bosses that people didn’t want to hear women’s voices on the radio. Radio DJs were seen as husband substitutes for the wives who listened at home. God forbid British women might want to listen to other women.’
Nightingale ‘smashed through all the sexist stereotypes’ wrote Annie and then painted a clear image of what she was like in the BBC office.
‘She was always the epitome of ‘cool’, relentlessly curious and enthusiastic and hungry to learn. She always had the messiest desk in our office, the best outfits, and the most outrageous stories to tell. She was so sound!’
Annie now hopes that festivals and awards will be named in her honour.
‘Queen of breaks! Annie Nightingale, you absolute legend, may you always be ‘on One’,’ she concluded.
DJ and presenter Trevor Nelson, who started his broadcasting career in the 1980s and still presents on BBC Radio 1Xtra, has said Nightingale had him ‘feel like music broadcasting is for life’.
‘Dear Annie, you were more than just a trailblazer for women on radio, you made me feel like music broadcasting is for life,’ he posted on X.
‘Rave in peace.’
BBC Radio 1 DJ Danny Howard, host of Radio 1’s Dance Party, described Nightingale as an ‘all-time radio great’.
‘Very sad to hear the news of Annie Nightingale passing,’ he posted on X.
‘An all-time radio great and an inspiration to many!
‘I was in awe of her knowledge and passion for music, the way she talked about it and the stories she had!
‘Such a kind soul and will be missed. Thank you Annie R.I.P.’
Nightingale, pictured with founder of Bibba fashion house Barbara Hulanicki, supported other women (Picture: Andy Sheppard/Redferns)
Glastonbury Festival co-organiser Emily Eavis has said Nightingale was ‘an inspiration to so many women in music’ and a ‘lovely human being’.
‘Goodbye dear Annie, a female trailblazer and true enthusiast,’ Emily posted on Instagram.
‘Annie gave me so much support when I was in my twenties, I always felt so grateful to have such a strong woman encouraging me along the way and I’m sure she has done the same for many others like me.
‘She was an inspiration to so many women in music, broadcasting and beyond and just a lovely human being.’
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