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Best Of British: Best Radio Show - Mary Anne Hobbs - Radio 1 Experimental Show

Praise Be: It pays to be experimental

It's a sad but undeniable fact that by the time most folk say goodbye to their twenties, their musical taste is set in stone. Praise be then for those characters who aren't satisfied with merely listening to the music that defined them at 21 for the rest of their lives. Praise be for Mary Anne Hobbs.

For Hobbs, whose Radio 1 Experimental Show you have named Best British Radio Show, the choice is stark and simple - you either progress or stagnate. Unsurprisingly, given her sonic wanderlust, she chose the former.

"It's well known that John Peel was my hero," she says excitedly, words flowing out of her mouth at incredible speed. "And I'd like to think that I'm still carrying his torch. He taught me everything I know about broadcasting. It's all about excitement and endlessly surprising and delighting."

And that's something her show, recently moved to Wednesday nights - well, in reality, Thursday mornings - does constantly. Having evolved from her old Breezeblock show, where she showcased the finest leftfield music extant, regardless of genre, her Experimental Show has become a platform for the kind of forward-thinking music you just don't get to hear anywhere.

"I know I've become associated with dubstep and grime," she says, "but it's all about applying that John Peel principle. I still get that thrill when I hear something new. It's amazing."

This year, Hobbs has been eulogising about the experimental West Coast scene in America. In January she visited San Francisco and Los Angeles, paying a special visit to the scene's spiritual home, the Low End Theory club night. She describes the trip as a pilgrimage.

"Flying Lotus, to me, is the greatest musician of his generation, he's like Hendrix," she enthuses. "But I came back with so many live sets and interviews. It was so inspiring."

So much so that she took one of the Low End Theory residents Gaslamp Killer over to Sonar in June as part of her stage at the Spanish festival. "He blew it apart," she laughs.

Mercifully, Hobbs shows no sign of slowing down as we approach 2010. Ideas are constantly forming and taking shape.

"It's got to the point now where I'm doing three mixes in a show just so I can showcase all this new music," she explains. "The rate at which culture is accelerating is incredible."

To that end she starts rhapsodizing about James Blake, Joy Orbison, Floating Points, Monolake… the list is endless. Praise be for Mary Anne Hobbs.

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  The Other Nominees

John Digweed, Transitions, Kiss Gilles Peterson, Worldwide, Radio 1 Rob Da Bank, Radio 1 Sinden, Kiss