Gillian Reynolds spent 42 years as the radio critic of the Daily Telegraph before she was headhunted by the Sunday Times at the age of 82. Born into a working class family in Liverpool, her mother ran a market stall and her father was a seaman, but also a gambler. Her mother was determined to ensure that Gillian had a good education, and she was the first in her family to go to a grammar school. She went on to study English at Oxford.
She took up an internship in America, where she met her husband, and they returned to Liverpool when she became pregnant with the first of her three sons. She first worked as a radio critic for the Guardian in 1967. She became the first female controller of a commercial radio station when she joined Radio City, Liverpool, in 1974. She moved to London in 1975 when she left her troubled marriage, and secured the job of radio critic for the Telegraph, as well as working as a journalist in television and radio, at one point even co-presenting the Today programme.
She chaired the Sony Radio Awards for four years, the only woman to have done so, and the Radio Academy Festival for a decade. She lives alone, but with around two dozen radios, in Notting Hill.
Presenter: Kirsty Young
Producer: Cathy Drysdale.