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Monday, April 19, 1999 Published at 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK


Nightingale's vodka days

Annie Nightingale: BBC Radio 1's first woman DJ

Veteran broadcaster Annie Nightingale - the first female DJ BBC Radio 1 ever had - has admitted she has occasionally been on air drunk.

Nightingale, who joined the station in 1970, told Radio Times she stopped drinking her favourite tipple, vodka, when she realised the effect it was having on her.

She told the magazine how her dealings in the music industry meant she was often surrounded by cocaine and alcohol.

She said: "I didn't do cocaine to any significant degree, and stopped drinking vodka about four years ago because it wasn't doing me any good.

"I occasionally went on air drunk. I wouldn't dream of it now."

She is still with the station, hosting a show in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Long career

Her long career will be celebrated by Radio 1 on Sunday in Annie Night. DJ Jo Whiley will profile her career, and a party will be held in her honour with contributions from Happy Mondays and Bentley Rhythm Ace.

Nightingale - who is in her 50s but declines to give her exact age - said she was taking life easier after staying in hospital after being mugged in Cuba in 1996. As well as vodka, she has now given up smoking.

"I miss it in the air because it was a great aid to concentration. Now I take a swig of caffeine.

"People's perceptions are strange. I'm thought of as this party animal. I went out quite a lot but I'm not daft. It's a dangerous world."

She also insists she was able to put curses on journalists who upset her - though she fears she went too far one time.

"One got busted at Heathrow, lost his job, then his father died - which I agree is too much."

Annie Nightingale can be heard from 0400-0630 on Sundays on BBC Radio 1, while Annie Night runs from 2100 to 0100 on Sunday 25 April.

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