Stuart Maconie

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Stuart Maconie
Stuart Maconie in 2010
Stuart John Maconie

(1961-08-13) 13 August 1961 (age 62)
Alma materEdge Hill University
Radio presenter
Television presenter
SpouseEleanor Maconie

Stuart John Maconie (born 13 August 1961)[2] is an English radio DJ and television presenter, writer, journalist, and critic working in the field of pop music and popular culture. He is a presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music where, alongside Mark Radcliffe, he hosts its weekend breakfast show (Saturday–Sunday, 8 am – 10 am)[3] which broadcasts from the BBC's MediaCityUK in Salford. The pair previously presented an evening show on BBC Radio 2 and the weekday afternoon show for BBC Radio 6 Music.

Maconie used to present his own solo show on Saturday afternoons from April 2006 until 29 March 2008, and is a frequent stand-in for holidaying presenters on Radio 2. He also hosts BBC Radio 6 Music programmes The Freak Zone,[4] on Sundays from 8 pm to 10 pm and Freak Zone Playlist[5] (formerly known as The Freakier Zone) on Wednesday night/Thursday mornings from midnight to 1 am.

Early life[edit]

Maconie was born in Whiston, near Knowsley in Lancashire.[6] He was raised in Prescot, Lancashire. He was educated at St John Rigby College, Orrell and Edge Hill College (now Edge Hill University), in Ormskirk.[1]

Maconie (right) with bassist Nigel Power

While at St John Rigby College, Maconie formed a band named (after several iterations) Les Flirts,[1] featuring Maconie on guitar/vocals, Nigel Power on bass and Jem Bretherton on drums.[1][7]


In his career as a writer and journalist he has written for Q, Word Magazine, ELLE, The Times, The Guardian, the Evening Standard, Daily Express, Select, Mojo, Country Walking, Deluxe and was an assistant editor for the NME. In September 2008, he began a new monthly column for Cumbria Life magazine. Maconie previously worked as an English and sociology teacher at Skelmersdale College, Lancashire for one year in 1987–88.[1][8] He has written screenplays for television and films.

Maconie is also the author of Cider With Roadies,[1] an autobiography of his experiences as a music journalist that references Cider with Rosie in the wordplay of the title. Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North,[9] a book that discusses the modern reality of Northern England (as opposed to the popular myths), was published in February 2007, with an audio version following in March 2009. Maconie, portraying himself a 'professional northerner', uses childhood experiences alongside anecdotes from recent visits to illuminate the book. A third book, Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England[10] was published in March 2009. Maconie's March 2012 book, Never Mind the Quantocks,[11] is a collection of more than 50 essays from his monthly column in Country Walking magazine.

Maconie said he started two urban legends: that Bob Holness, UK host of the game show Blockbusters, played the sax solo on Gerry Rafferty's hit single "Baker Street"[1][12] and that David Bowie invented the board game Connect Four.[13] The stories first appeared as blatant jokes in a spoof NME's Believe It or Not feature, but have since been repeated elsewhere as if true.[1][12][13]

Maconie also said he was the first to use the term Britpop for the British pop music movement of the mid-1990s. John Robb had earlier used the term in 1987 when writing for Sounds.[14] Maconie later said, "I'm sure someone must have used the expression before me about the Hollies, or the Beatles, back in the '60s. But I was the first person to use it about bands like Oasis and Blur".[6][13]

In February 2023, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd was highly critical of Maconie for an article in the New Statesman which he said misrepresented his views on bandmate David Gilmour's musicianship. Waters said, "It's the usual, shit stirring, ill-informed nonsense." He accused Maconie of "unearned condescending authority" and said "I don't know who he thinks he's quoting when he says Gilmour's 'horrible guitar solos' but it sure as shit ain't me." He concluded, "So, Stuart Maconie, you little prick, next time, please check your copy with the subjects of your grubby little piece, before you go to print."[15]


His books include:

  • 3862 Days: The Official History of Blur[16]
  • James – Folklore: The Official History[17]
  • Cider with Roadies[1]
  • Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North[9]
  • Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England[10]
  • Short Stories for Short Breaks[18]
  • Never Mind the Quantocks[11]
  • The Pie at Night: In Search of the North at Play[19]
  • Long Road from Jarrow: A journey through Britain then and now[20]
  • The Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save it[21]
  • The Full English: A Journey in Search of a Country and its People[22]


As a broadcaster, his work has appeared on television and radio.

Radio 1[edit]

He was a music reporter for Mark Goodier's Evening Session on BBC Radio 1, alongside Andrew Collins. Also on Radio 1, from 1995 to 1997, Maconie joined forces with Collins presenting a music review called Collins and Maconie's Hit Parade, which originally went out on Monday nights from 9 pm to 10 pm and then on Sunday afternoons from 3 pm to 4 pm. In addition to this, in October 1996, Maconie took over a weekly album show on Radio 1 on Sunday nights, until late 1997.

Radio 2[edit]

Maconie joined BBC Radio 2 in 1998, with shows such as All Singing, All Dancing, All Night, a northern soul music show, and, for several years, Stuart Maconie's Critical List on Saturday evenings. He also presents documentaries and deputised for Johnnie Walker on Radio 2's Drivetime programme.

From April 2006 to 29 March 2008, Maconie presented the Saturday afternoon show previously presented by Chris Evans.

In addition to his Saturday show, on 16 April 2007, Maconie joined forces with Mark Radcliffe to present a new show on BBC Radio 2 which was broadcast between Monday and Wednesday (Monday to Thursday up to April 2010) from 8 pm to 10 pm. In spring 2011, this show was transferred to 6 Music in the afternoon slot, 1 – 4 pm weekdays, later moving to weekend mornings from 8am to 10am. In 2012, Maconie began presenting The People's Songs, a "story of modern Britain in 50 records". Described as music as social history, 50 programmes in the series examine periods in Britain, the events that were occurring and how a particular song was the soundtrack of that period.[23][24]

Radio 5 Live[edit]

From 1994 to 2001, he presented the satirical news review The Treatment, on BBC Radio 5 Live.

BBC Radio 6 Music[edit]

He also joined BBC Radio 6 Music from its inception in 2002 where he presents The Freak Zone radio show.[5][4] It is described as "the weird, the wonderful and all that's in between", and is very diverse in musical content. This show is broadcast every Sunday from 8 pm to 10 pm, and has been supplemented in 2010 with The Freakier Zone, which airs from midnight to 1 am every Saturday night/Sunday morning. In spring 2011, his Radio 2 show with Mark Radcliffe was moved to 6 Music, weekdays 1 – 4 pm. The afternoon show ended on 21 December 2018 and moved to the weekend breakfast show in January 2019.

Other broadcasting[edit]

Maconie has also presented musical specialities for BBC Radio 4 and the new-style "populist" BBC Radio 3 and has appeared on television and in films. In 2007 he presented Stuart Maconie's TV Towns for ITV3, six one-hour shows about TV and film locations in Newcastle, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London.

In February 2015 he was the guest of Sarah Walker on BBC Radio 3's Essential Classics.[25] Since 2016 he has appeared on the North of England team on the BBC Radio 4's Round Britain Quiz.

Other projects[edit]

Maconie was President of The Ramblers from 2017 to 2023[26][27][28] and is a keen fellwalker. He completed, on 20 June 2009, all 214 Wainwrights in Cumbria[29] and is an honorary member of the Wainwright Society, having given their Memorial Lecture in 2006.[30][31] In late 2009, Experience Northwest released a series of short stories he wrote about the hidden gems in England's Northwest.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Maconie is a supporter of Wigan Athletic[33] and Wigan Warriors.[34] In December 2009, Maconie was awarded an honorary Master's degree by Edge Hill University, Ormskirk.[35] The university has a hall of residence called Maconie in his honour.[36]

In July 2011, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from the University of Bolton.[37]

In January 2016 he became a patron of Warley Woods after a number of years being actively involved.[38]


Maconie is politically left of centre[39] and joined the Labour Party at the age of 17.[40] He has commented on Marxism: "In these days of identity politics and what you might call 'the selfie-fication' of political thought, Marxism remains refreshingly bracing in its view of the world."[41]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Maconie, Stuart (2005). Cider with Roadies. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-189745-1. OCLC 890396204.
  2. ^ "Slade says more about Britain than Nick Cave – Garstang Courier". Archived from the original on 19 July 2019.
  3. ^ Radcliffe and Maconie (BBC Radio 6 Music)
  4. ^ a b Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone (BBC Radio 6 Music)
  5. ^ a b Freak Zone Playlist (BBC Radio 6 Music)
  6. ^ a b "Stuart Maconie". Wigan Leisure & Culture Trust. 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008.
  7. ^ Maconie (2005), p. 122.
  8. ^ Maconie (2005), p. 217.
  9. ^ a b Maconie, Stuart (2007). Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-191022-8.
  10. ^ a b Maconie, Stuart (2009). Adventures on the High Teas: In Search of Middle England. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0-09-192650-2.
  11. ^ a b Maconie, Stuart (2012). Never Mind the Quantocks. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 978-1-4463-0165-4.
  12. ^ a b Maconie (2005), p. 256.
  13. ^ a b c Thair, David (22 May 2009). "Comedy Blog: HIGNFY Guest interview: Stuart Maconie". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  14. ^ louderthanwar (2 September 2011). "How John Robb made up the word 'Britpop'!". Louder Than War. Retrieved 8 October 2023.
  15. ^ Laing, Rob (22 February 2023). ""It's the usual, s**t stirring, ill informed nonsense" – Roger Waters denies calling David Gilmour's Pink Floyd guitar solos on Dark Side of the Moon "horrible"". MusicRadar. Retrieved 27 February 2023.
  16. ^ Maconie, Stuart (1999). 3862 Days: The Official History of Blur. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-7535-0287-7.
  17. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2000). James – Folklore: The Official History. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 978-0-7535-0494-9.
  18. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2009). Short Stories for Short Breaks. Warrington: North West Regional Development Agency.
  19. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2015). The Pie at Night: In Search of the North at Play. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-0091933814.
  20. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2017). Long Road from Jarrow: A journey through Britain then and now. London: Ebury Press. ISBN 978-1785036316.
  21. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2020). The Nanny State Made Me: A Story of Britain and How to Save it. Ebury Press. ISBN 978-1529102413.
  22. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2023). The Full English: A Journey in Search of a Country and its People. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0008498269.
  23. ^ "The People's Songs Gallery". British Music Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  24. ^ Harris, John (13 June 2013). "The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records by Stuart Maconie – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  25. ^ "Essential Classics". BBC Radio 3. 4 February 2015.
  26. ^ "Stuart Maconie named as our new president". The Ramblers. 1 April 2017. Archived from the original on 2 April 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  27. ^ "Presenting our new president". Walk. Ramblers. Summer 2023. Amar succeeeds DJ and write Stuart Maconie, Ramblers president from 2017 to 2023, who continues to support us as a lifelong vice-president.
  28. ^ "Amar Latif to be appointed as President of the Ramblers". Ramblers. 29 March 2023. Retrieved 11 July 2023. Amar will succeed writer and DJ Stuart Maconie, who held the position of president of the Ramblers from 2017 to 2023. Stuart Maconie will continue his support of the charity in the role of life vice president.
  29. ^ Maconie, Stuart (2012). Never Mind the Quantocks. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-4463-0165-4.
  30. ^ "Wainwright Society Memorial Lecture 2006". Wainwright Society. 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  31. ^ "Stuart's Short Stories for Short Breaks - Home". 14 September 2008. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2022.
  32. ^ "Visit England's North West". Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  33. ^ "Stuart Maconie on his love for Wigan Athletic". BBC Sport. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  34. ^ Maconie, Stuart. "Why rugby league is obviously better than rugby union". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  35. ^ "BBC Radio presenter Stuart Maconie to be given honorary Master's degree at Edge Hill University". Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser. 3 December 2009. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  36. ^ "Living on Campus: Accommodation: Graduates Court". Edge Hill University. 2014. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  37. ^ "University celebrates student success". University of Bolton. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  38. ^ "New Patron for the Community Trust". Warley Woods. 21 January 2016.
  39. ^ "The Nanny State Made Me". 4 January 2021.
  40. ^ "Guys. I've been in the Labour Party since I was 17. He was pathetic. He was the worst leader we've had since Ramsay Macdonsld. It's over thank god". Retrieved 25 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Maconie, Stuart (31 July 2017). "I'm a Marxist – we are misunderstood on both the left and right". New Statesman. Retrieved 22 September 2017.

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