BBC radio presenter Janice Long, who was the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, has died at the age of 66.

During a 40-year career which started at BBC Radio Merseyside, Janice hosted shows across broadcaster's flagship stations including Radio 1, as well as the breakfast show on Greater London Radio and XFM.

Her agent Nigel Forsyth said in a statement that Janice died at home on Christmas Day following a short illness.

His statement said: “Janice was a wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster.

“She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.

“Janice loved the BBC and started her career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, to complete it with the magnificent people at BBC Radio Wales.

“Janice wanted it known she was so thankful to the NHS and all who looked after her there.”

Janice Long

Janice Long

Lorna Clarke, controller of pop music at the BBC, was among those paying tribute.

She said: “Everyone in pop radio was saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long.

“She was long admired for her role as a talent spotter and new music champion, giving Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Amy Winehouse their first radio sessions, as well as lighting the way for female radio and TV presenters throughout the industry.

“We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this sad time.”


Following time as cabin crew and in telesales, Janice, who was the elder sister of Keith Chegwin, became a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool in 1979.

When she joined Radio 1 in 1983, she was the first female to have her own daily show on the station and later became the first woman to be a regular presenter of Top of the Pops where she hosted the show for five years.

She was also one of the main presenters of the epic Live Aid concert in 1985.

Since 2017, Janice hosted the evening show on BBC Radio Wales. She also hosted A Long Walk with… Janice Long, which was first broadcast in August 2017 on BBC Radio 2.

In between her journey from Radio 1 to Radio 2, Janice also presented the Dream Ticket for BBC 6 Music, the GLR breakfast show and XFM breakfast show.

Tim Davie, director general of the BBC said: “Janice Long was a stellar presenter, who was loved and respected across the industry and her passing is a huge loss to music, broadcasting and the BBC.

“Over 40 years she blazed a trail across Radio 1, Top of the Pops, Radio 2 and 6 Music to name just a few, before building a wonderful show and loyal following on BBC Radio Wales. She will be missed by her fans, listeners and colleagues.

“All our thoughts are with them, Janice’s family and her friends.”

Janice’s dedication to promoting new talent was recognised when she was presented with the lifetime achievement award at The Liverpool Music Awards with for her outstanding contribution to the music industry.

Other bands & artists she has given a first break to include The Smiths, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Primal Scream, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Amy Macdonald, Boy Azooga, Rachel K Collier and Richard Hawley.

Janice Long was awarded a BASCA Gold badge of merit for her outstanding contribution to music and, this year, was awarded an honorary doctorate for Music and Art by Edge Hill University in Ormskirk.

Janice also had her photograph portrait hung in the Royal College of Art as part of an exhibition celebrating woman pioneers, alongside Dame Shirley Williams, Betty Boothroyd and Nicola Adams.

Janice was a patron of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), founded by Paul McCartney, and a judge for the Mercury Music Awards.

Acting was the dream for Janice during her early years. She was a member of Merseyside Youth Drama and acted leading roles alongside Sue Jenkins and Dean Sullivan.

But when life took a different turn and she promised herself she would return to it when she was older.

She recently appeared in a BBC Radio 4 play written by Roy Boulter and Louise Wener where Janice played herself alongside Joe Absalom.