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Monday, 18 December, 2000, 13:08 GMT
Honorary degree for 'radio legend'
john peel
Peel: "Legendary figure" in the world of pop
The broadcaster John Peel has been awarded an honorary degree in music by the University of Liverpool.

The 61-year-old disc jockey - a former pirate radio star and a BBC Radio 1 DJ since the station's launch in 1967 - was honoured for his "outstanding contribution to music".

I am very flattered to be given this degree

John Peel
The university said the father-of-four, who was born on Merseyside, was a "much-loved man and a legendary figure in the world of popular music."

"It is fitting that, in a university where the study of popular music is an important strand in our own music department, we should include John Peel as a member of our academic community," a spokesman said.

Peel - who had travelled from his home in Suffolk - received the Doctor of Music from the university's Vice Chancellor, Professor Philip Love, at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool.

"I am very flattered to be given this degree," he said.

john peel
The prime minister once described Peel as a "radio legend"
"My dad, Robert Ravenscroft, who was from Liverpool, would have been very proud," he added.

The honour was all the more satisfying, he said, because Liverpool football club beat arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford for the first time in ten years.

"I don't think my Radio 1 listeners would think I am any less cool for being made a Doctor of Music.

"They think I am a fat, late-middle-aged man and don't listen to me because they think I am cool," he joked.

National institution

Widely regarded a national institution, John Robert Parker Ravenscroft adopted the surname Peel during his pirate radio days.

In 1993 he won the Sony Award for Broadcaster of the Year and in 1998 he received an OBE.

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is among his fans, describing him once as a "radio legend".

One of his producers, John Walters, once labelled him "the most important figure in popular music over the last 25 years".

Last year, BBC Two celebrated the DJ's 60th birthday with an evening of programmes dedicated to his career.

Peel is most renowned for his late-night shows on Radio 1 in which he has introduced many new bands.

He also presents Radio 4's Saturday morning programme, Home Truths.

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See also:

16 Aug 00 | Entertainment
'Grumpy old man' role for Peel
16 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Peel's birthday party
30 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Peel's still top of the pops
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