Sarah Mary Kennedy MBE is a retired British TV and radio presenter. From 1993 to 2010, she aired her daily morning radio show The Dawn Patrol on BBC Radio 2.
At the Queen’s Birthday Awards in 2005, Kennedy was named a Member of the Most Outstanding Order of the British Empire for “service to broadcasting”.
Sarah Kennedy was born in Sussex. She grew up in East Grinstead, the daughter of a stockbroker and a nurse. She attended Copthorne Preparatory School and studied at drama school for two years before becoming a drama teacher.
Kennedy started her career with the British Army Broadcasting Service in Singapore in 1973 before moving to BBC Radio 2 in 1976, initially as a news anchor and continuity anchor. She was responsible for the station’s eventual closure before switching to 24-hour broadcasting in January 1979. She continued to play music on Radio 2 until 1983, including holiday covers of family favorites, mostly String Sound with the BBC Radio Orchestra. She is also President of Houghton Radio, a hospital radio station based at Houghton Hospital in Oxfordshire.
Kennedy’s first job on screen was reading Southern TV’s daily news. From 1981 to 1984, she rose to television fame as one of the hosts of the ITV entertainment show Game for a Laugh. She was also part of the team involved in the BBC short programme 60 Minutes, which ran from 1983 to 1984, and was the main presenter of the ITV game show Busman’s Holiday in the 1980s. She also co-hosted The Animals Roadshow (late 1980s) and Animal Country (1991) with zoologist Desmond Morris.
Kennedy returned to Radio 2 for the weekday show “Dawn Patrol,” which ran from January 4, 1993 to August 13, 2010. It originally aired from 5-7am in 1993, but changed to clock time the following year. The 6:00-7:30 period runs until January 8, 2010. In 1995, Kennedy received the prestigious Sony Radio Gold Award.
She has about 4.5 million listeners on Radio 2. Because of Trevorgan’s retirement from The Breakfast Show in December 2009, and the ambitions of his successor, Chris Evans, the schedule for the morning radio show changed, and Kennedy’s show moved forward. Recording of the longer Evans show starting on January 11, 2010, with the original time slot from 5am to 7am.
Then, on September 3 of that year, it was announced that she would be leaving the show. Kennedy has been out for a few weeks before and won’t return to the show (due to her retirement from broadcasting) until Evans’ show is further renewed in October. The show was presented by Lynn Parsons and Aled Jones during this period. On January 17, 2011, Vanessa Feltz took over the slot for the show, which will now air between 4:00 am and 6:30 am.