Live With Chris Moyles (Five, 2002-2003)
Chris Moyles started out in radio in the early-90s, but I didn’t hear him until he moved to a daytime afternoon slot on BBC Radio 1 in 1998. It is fair to say that his humour and presenting style polarises opinion somewhat, but I found most of what he did rather funny. However, although he has featured in various TV formats over the years, none of them have been as successful as his radio work.
One TV show that he presented that I remember watching was on the little-seen but really rather good digital channel UK Play in the late-90s. After that ended, in 2002 he joined Five to host a live weekday show that was made by Chris Evans’s production company. Five seemed to be insistent that this show couldn’t fail and viewers would be rushing home to watch it at 7pm and it would easily beat Emmerdale on the other side in the ratings.
Live With Chris Moyles was hosted from a bar and in every edition the studio audience would be made up of people from the same profession who seemed to shriek at everything that Chris said, although this may be partly because they’d had a couple by this point. There was also a picture on the wall of Terry Venables who was at Leeds United at the time which is the football club that Chris supports.
The show would begin with Chris pushing a button to reveal a sign on the front of his desk featuring a word telling us what mood he was in on that day (I remember one newspaper review of the show featured a picture of the sign that had been altered to say “DESPERATE” which sums up what most critics thought), and there would be several features.
These included a newspaper review, although this mostly consisted of “have you seen this funny story on page 25 of today’s Daily Star?”-type analysis of events. Chris would also be joined by celebrity guests either on the phone or in the studio. I remember when Jon Culshaw turned up to be interviewed, who also contributed some of his comedy impressions to Chris’s radio programme.
There was also a game played called Push The Pint. People had to push a glass filled with beer. If it landed on an “A” the audience would be electrocuted, if it landed on an “M” Chris would be (“they always turn it up more for me!”), but if it landed on the target, they would win £1,000 and everyone would get very excited. Most shows seemed to end with Chris running out of the studio before the credits had even finished.
This all carried on for a few months, then something rather curious happened. Not becoming the ratings success that was expected, the show was relaunched in 2003 with a new host as Live With Christian O’Connell, another up-and-coming radio presenter who was trying to break into TV around this time, although I must admit that I didn’t watch this version as much.
However, it seems that Christian’s stint was only really memorable for the time when a major technical fault took the show off the air, and Five had to reach for their go-to filler programme Russell Grant’s Postcards. By the time they were able to go back to Christian they had just about run out of time, and the studio guests weren’t interviewed (and looked rather unimpressed with the whole thing), and it ended for good not long after.