BBC announces star-studded radio tribute to Janice Long

The broadcaster died at home on Christmas Day aged 66.
The broadcaster died at home on Christmas Day aged 66.

The BBC has announced plans to celebrate the life of radio presenter Janice Long with a tribute programme hosted by Zoe Ball and featuring artists such as Sir Paul McCartney.

Long, who was the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1 and the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, died at home on Christmas Day following a short illness. She was 66.

A Life In Music will broadcast on January 23 and feature family, friends and the musicians she helped during her 40-year career in broadcasting.

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Sir Paul McCartney and his daughter Mary McCartney (Yui Mok/PA)

Sir Paul will discuss his “old Liverpool mate” who was always “a pleasure to meet” and voice his sadness “at the loss of a great Scouse girl”.

Actor David Morrissey will remember visiting her while she was live on air shortly after he joined the Liverpool Everyman theatre, while fellow broadcaster Jane Garvey will recall how she would shut herself away from her family to listen to Long present her Streetlife music show.

The former Woman’s Hour presenter will describe how hearing Long gave her hope it was possible for young women to break into radio.

Andy McCluskey, of synth-pop band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, will talk about them coming up in Liverpool together, and how Long shouted across the Top Of The Pops studio “tuck in your shirt, McCluskey” during a live broadcast.

Janice Long death
Janice Long in 1987 (PA)

Elvis Costello will speak about Long’s more recent work, including how she coped with technical difficulties and conducted a masterclass in interviewing on BBC Radio Wales.

Elsewhere, fellow radio DJ Sara Cox will remember Long welcoming her into the Radio 2 studios when she first presented on the station.

Other contributors will include Noddy Holder, Richard Hawley, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds, Sandie Shaw, Jack Savoretti, Peter Hook of New Order, Jo Whiley, Greg James, Bob Harris and Adam Walton of BBC Radio Wales.

Across a 40-year career, the Liverpool-raised DJ hosted slots on flagship stations such as BBC Radio 1, helped launch the careers of artists including Amy Winehouse and led coverage of major music events such as Live Aid.

Her death was met with numerous tributes as bands and artists she helped promote during their early years shared stories of her.

Janice Long: A Life In Music airs on January 23 from 7-9pm.