BBC radio stations celebrate 40th anniversary

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LONDON, Sep 30 (Reuters) BBC radio stations 1, 2, 3 and 4 celebrated their 40th anniversary by broadcasting a series of special programmes as some of the corporation's former disc jockeys made a nostalgic return to the airwaves.

The BBC launched Radios 1 and 2 on September 30, 1967 as a replacement for the Light Programme, while the Third Programme became Radio 3 and the Home Service was renamed Radio 4.

Today's celebrations for Radio 1 included the outspoken Chris Moyles, who has called himself the saviour of the station, co-hosting the breakfast show with Tony Blackburn, who launched Radio 1 in 1967.

A two-hour documentary ''Keeping it Peel'' pays tribute to the veteran broadcaster, who championed new music trends like punk, before his death three years ago.

Radio 1 has enjoyed a renaissance since managers dropped many older presenters in the 1990s.

''Radio 1 is still seen as the best radio station in the world,'' former disc jockey Bruno Brookes told BBC News 24. ''It's a brand that isn't going to go away - it's got a great future.'' Radio 2 broadcast Kenny Everett's first show for the station while DJs Smashie and Nicey -- the comic creation of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse -- will host an edition of Pick of the Pops playing hits from 40 years ago.

The show is a tribute to DJ Alan ''Fluff'' Freeman who originally presented the show.

On Radio 4 comedian Matthew Lucas and actor Stephen Fry will host a spoof edition of ''This is Your Life'' telling the history of the station, with contributions from broadcasters John Humphrys, Sue Lawley, Jonathan Dimbleby and Barry Cryer.

REUTERS SG PM1644

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