Gemma Cairney


Gemma is best known for her work on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio 6 Music. Most recently, Gemma presented The Leisure Society (BBC Radio 6) where she interviewed cultural icons including Goldie, Tracey Emin and Kelley Deal. Gemma’s recent four-part series The Sound Odyssey (BBC Radio 4) saw her accompany four well-known British artists as they took part in musical collaborations in four different countries around the world. Gemma is currently presenting her own weekly radio show Nightwaves Radio, an idea that was born during the Corona Virus lockdown.

Gemma has presented many documentaries for radio including: Island Sounds, Dolly, Dylan or Daft Punk, and Mali Music all for BBC 6 Music. Tempted By Teacher and Bruising Silence (BBC Radio 1) have seen her awarded two Sony Golds and her interview of Grace Jones for Amazing Grace (BBC 6 Music) won the Best Music Show Rose d’Or. She has also presented one-off’s and specials for BBC Radio 2, 3, 4, 4 Extra, 6Music and BBC World Service.

But Gemma’s work is not only limited to radio. She has presented many acclaimed television documentaries including: History of Feminism (BBC Learning), Riots: The Aftershock and Dying for Clear Skin (BBC 3). She made royal history by hosting a live Google hangout from Buckingham Palace for The Queen’s Young Leader project alongside HRH Price William and HRH Prince Harry.

Gemma loves to write, explore the planet, trek mountains and DJ garage classics. Her debut book Open, a toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be, was published by Pan Macmillan in 2017 and was later released in paperback as Open Your Heart. Gemma’s love letter to her adopted hometown of Margate was also published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in Hometown Tales: South Coast.

In 2015, Gemma founded of Boom Shakalaka – a production company specialising in making various types of content including radio, podcasts and theatre. Gemma is an Ambassador for Oxfam and also lends her support to Women’s Aid.