Anne Avril Nightingale MBE (born 1 April 1940) is an English radio and television broadcaster. She is now more commonly known by the more informal name ofAnnie. She was the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 and is its longest-serving presenter, followed by John Peel who presented from the launch of the station in 1967 until his death in October 2004.
After attending Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton, London and the Polytechnic of Central London School of Journalism Nightingale began her career as a journalist in Brighton. In the 1960s she wrote columns for the Daily Express, the Daily Sketch and Cosmopolitan magazine.
She started at Radio 1 on 1 January 1970 with a Sunday evening show. Later she then hosted the singles review show What's New in the early 1970s before graduating to a late-night progressive rock show, which was simulcast on the Radio 2 FM frequency.
In the late 1970s she presented a Sunday afternoon request show and by 1980 was presenting a Friday night show and the non-music-based Radio 1 Mailbag.
In 1978, Nightingale became the main presenter of the The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC2 as a replacement for long-time host Bob Harris; during her tenure the show moved away from its traditional bias under Harris towards country music, blues rock and progressive rock and embraced popular modern styles such as punk rock and new wave. She left the series in 1982.
In the late 1970s The Sunday Request Show began its run; originally broadcast on Sunday afternoons before moving in 1982 to a slot immediately after the Top 40. The show was one of the first on British radio to regularly play music from CDs. A gimmick was to allow the intro of the first song in the show to play uninterrupted before saying "Hi" in the very last second before the vocals started.
In 1994 Nightingale moved to a weekend overnight dance music show initially called The Chill Out Zone. She can still be heard in the early hours of Saturday mornings on BBC Radio 1. On her current show she spins breaks, often featuring major breaks DJs such as Plump DJs, Freestylers, Noisia and Meat Katie. Nightingale regularly DJs live at clubs and festivals around the UK and Europe.
As a DJ, Nightingale has travelled all over the world and made music-documentaries during visits to Russia, Romania, Iraq, Chile, The Philippines and Cuba. While in Havana in 1996 she was injured during a mugging, resulting in multiple injuries requiring an air-lift to a London hospital, since which she has worn the distinctive shades, now part of her image.
In 2002 Nightingale was appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her services to radio broadcasting and awarded The Caner Of The Year Award by Muzik Magazine. The award recognised her in depth coverage of the radio scene. In 2004 she was the first female DJ from Radio 1 to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall Of Fame.
Nightingale has published two autobiographical books: Chase The Fade (1981) ISBN 0-7137-1167-1 and Wicked Speed (1999) ISBN 0-283-06197-9. She has compiled two albums: Annie On One (1996, Heavenly Recordings) and her own installment of the Breaks DJ mix series Y4K (2007, Distinctive Records).
On 30 September 2007, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio 1 Annie co-hosted a special return of the Request Show with Annie Mac featuring contributions from musicians such as Paul McCartney andChemical Ed, excerpts from the original show and Annie's recollections of regular contributors such as "Night Owl of Croydon". The show featured many classic tracks which had been requested over the years and closed with one of Annie's favourites, Cristina's version of "Is That All There Is?".
A version of The Smiths song Panic interpreted by Mancunian cult comedian Frank Sidebottom dedicates its choruses to "Anne the deejay" and asks "Anne Nightingale what's your blinking game". In 2014, she appeared in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern as herself.
In April 2012 Annie presented a show on BBC Radio 2 called "Annie Nightingale's Eternal Jukebox" She has continued presenting this on an occasional basis usually on bank holidays. The Eternal Jukebox showcases "enjoyably unexpected musical pairings." Listeners are invited to suggest a song and Annie pairs it up with another song often of a different genre and suggests a link between the two songs. On the 25th June 2012 she also presented a documentary for BBC Radio 2 called "Is It Worth It?" about the Falklands Conflict. It was described on the Radio 2 website as "30 years on from the Falklands conflict, Annie Nightingale considers the impact of the war through the song Shipbuilding."
Towards the end of November 2013 it was announced that Annie Nightingale would return to BBC Radio 2 on the 1st January 2014 for another one off show entitled, "Annie Nightingale: Whatever Next?" This will be a 2 hour show broadcast between 8pm and 10pm on New Years Day 2014. Annie will "curate seven decades of unmissable music from the 1950s through to today." The show will feature a variety of genres from the seven decades from the 1950s onwards.