BBC radio special for Janice Long to feature tributes from Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and more

Members of New Order, Simple Minds and others will also pay tribute

A radio tribute show to celebrate the life of pioneering BBC DJ Janice Long has been announced.

A Life In Music will air on January 23 in a simulcast on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Merseyside from 7pm-9pm to remember the radio DJ and new music champion, 66, who died on Christmas Day last month.

Zoe Ball will present the tribute programme with guests including Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello, Richard Hawley, Peter Hook of New Order, Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, Ian Broudie of The Lightning Seeds, Noddy Holder of Slade and BBC DJs Jo Whiley and Greg James.


Long’s 40-year career began with her assisting on BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979 before she was given her own programme, Streetlife, to promote local bands. She became the first woman to have her own daily BBC Radio 1 show when she moved to the station in 1983.

The broadcaster also became the first woman to regularly host Top Of The Pops, fronting the TV show for five years, and later had a long-running show on BBC Radio 2 until 2017. She also worked for BBC Radio London, BBC 6 Music, BBC WM, BBC Radio Wales, Greatest Hits Radio and Radio X, and set up her own station Crash FM in Liverpool in 1995.

On the tribute show, McCartney will remember his “old Liverpool mate” who was always “a pleasure to meet” and express his sadness “at the loss of a great Scouse girl”. He paid tribute to the DJ last month, saying she was “knowledgeable about the music scene”.

Elvis Costello will discuss about Long’s more recent work, including how she managed with technical difficulties on-air, and reflect on her interviewing prowess on BBC Radio Wales.

A Life In Music will also feature other friends and family as well as figures from outside music such as the actor David Morrissey. BBC Radio 4’s Jane Garvey will also contribute. The former Woman’s Hour presenter will describe how hearing Long gave her hope it was possible for young women to break into radio.


Janice Long
Janice Long. CREDIT: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Additionally, listeners can listen again to the first series of A Long Walk With… which will be available as a boxset on BBC Sounds from January 23.

Press material describes A Long Walk With…: “Long walks through key places in Liverpool with Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Holly Johnson as he remembers the characters and music that shaped his life and career to date; through key places in Basildon with Alison Moyet, as she remembers the characters and music that shaped her life and career to date; Janice meets Richard Hawley in a pub and parkland on one of the seven hills of Sheffield, as he remembers the characters and music that shaped his life and career to date and Janice takes the electronic pioneer Gary Numan, who David Bowie once credited with writing two of the finest songs in British music, back to some west London haunts.”

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