The Chris Moyles Show (BBC Radio 1, 1997-2012)
Chris Moyles started his radio career in the early-90s, by the mid-90s he was on Capital, and in 1997 he became the self-styled “saviour of Radio 1”. In 1998 he moved to the 4pm slot which was where I heard him for the first time. He definitely came across as someone who liked fiddling about with jingles and music, and he also had a group of hangers-on, er, I mean sidekicks, including “Comedy Dave”.
Chris had also made some attempts at breaking into TV with various shows on channels including UK Play, Channel 4, and Channel 5, but he never seemed as comfortable there as he did on the radio. I know that his bigmouthed style isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I have enjoyed some of his radio work. I thought that I would look back at three moments I remember that were rather awkward (although not in a probably being fined and suspended way, but an amusing way). These are only from memory but they went something like this.
1. In the early days, just after moving to the afternoon slot, on Fridays Chris would often be joined by impressionist Jon Culshaw (who was still up-and-coming at this time, but I remember that he said he made his TV debut on Keith Chegwin’s talent show Sky Star Search, where he had an awful mullet hairstyle, it would be great to see it). So Chris would say things to him like “what do you think of that song, Dale Winton?”, and he’d do the impression and so on, and there were plenty of laughs. I also remember when Chris did a parody of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, with Jon as Chris Tarrant, and random celebrities where phoned and tricked into thinking they were the “phone a friend”.
One Friday, Jon couldn’t make it into the studio because he was stuck in traffic, and they got him on the phone to explain this. Chris said that the would give him the chance to do a sketch, but it would be later on. So about every 15 minutes or so, Chris would check if he was still there, and Jon would say that he was, and Chris would that they’d go to him soon.
It was becoming clear that the joke was going to be that he wasn’t going to let him do a sketch and leave him hanging on the phone for the whole show. About the third or fourth time that Chris did this, when it was almost 5pm, Jon finally snapped, and said in an actually rather angry tone of voice “look I’ve had enough of this, you can stick your job up your arse, goodbye”, and hung up. Chris seemed to be rather surprised by this sudden outburst, he’d pushed him too far!
2. One thing about being famous on the radio is that you have lots of showbiz friends, and easier access to them. I remember Chris once told the story of when he found an answerphone message that had been left late at night from a rather drunk sounding Ant (of “and Dec” fame), Chris played a bit of this that began with Ant slurring “Moyles, is that you?”, before he finished by mumbling something that sounded like “muhuhwuh”, and then Chris kept playing this over the next song or two, which was really funny.
Later on they managed to get a much more sober-sounding Ant live on the phone to explain what he was up to. I am also reminded of when in a magazine interview Chris was asked if he ever forgot himself and said something rude. He said in one of the first shows he ever did on Radio 1, he interviewed Ant and Dec, who were promoting their album “The Cult Of Ant And Dec”, which Chris mispronounced the title of, and he said that they sat there pointing and laughing at him for the next ten minutes.
3. Chris once hosted a show on his birthday. I know this because Chris kept saying “it’s my birthday”, he isn’t modest about these things. Then near the end of the show, his team said that they had a surprise for him. There was then a live performance of a song by U2. Chris clearly wasn’t expecting this and sounded really surprised, and his team said would you like to talk to them, but then they said it wasn’t possible because the line had gone down.
Chris was still busy going “oh, wow!”, presuming that this world-famous band had taken the time out to go in the studio and do a special performance just for him. The team later confessed that the reason Chris couldn’t talk to U2 wasn’t because the line had gone down, but it was a pre-recorded performance made for a different show and it wasn’t for him at all! Chris had been pranked, but he tried to see the funny side, I bet he gave them a verbal seeing-to after though.
Chris moved to the Breakfast slot in 2004, before leaving Radio 1 in 2012, and he can now be found in the morning on Radio X if you’re that bothered.