Mark And Lard (BBC Radio 1, 1993-2004)
Mark Radcliffe had been a producer of radio shows for many years, while Marc Riley had been a musician and cartoonist. By the early-90s they had combined to host a late-night show on BBC Radio 1 up north, along with having a music magazine column, and it was by this point that they started to be known as the double-act Mark And Lard. In 1997, they were promoted to the high-profile Breakfast slot, but this wasn’t a success, and didn’t last long.
In 1998 they moved again, this time to the afternoon slot, and this was where I heard them for the first time and got into them. There were lots of memorable features (or “quality items” as they would call them), and I’ll pick out a few of my highlights. There were phone-in competitions for listeners to win big prizes including The Wheel Of Misfortune (which was later renamed The Circle Of Chance).
There was also The Cheesily Cheerful Chart Challenge (based on The Teasingly Topical Triple Tracker), where listeners could choose three songs that had some kind of link to a story in the news, One Man And His Frog, with breathless commentary from Scoff Cruddle, Vague News, and Lard’s Classic Cuts, where difficult to find vinyl records from Lard’s rather large collection were played, because he is more passionate about music than you, although they weren’t in very good condition, that was one of the funniest.
By the late-90s, Mark And Lard were hosting several shows on the little-watched UK Play channel, and they also released two albums under the name The Shirehorses, parodying some of the indie hits around at the time. We mustn’t forget the music either. It was clear that they weren’t very keen on the playlist, but they would always be able to choose a Record Of The Week.
This was usually by an up-and-coming indie band, and their plays on the show would often be their only radio exposure, much in contrast to all of that pesky dance music that was featured. Almost none of them ever became hit singles though. I also remember when they had a bizarre argument about Kraftwerk one day. And all of this was accompanied by “Sleep On The Left Side” by Cornershop.
By 2004, Mark And Lard had won many awards for their show, but it was at this point that they decided to leave BBC Radio 1 after about a decade, leaving their jokes and catchphrases behind and going their separate ways to go on and host various other shows on BBC Radio stations, along with making the Football Nightmares DVD. And at all times they were terrific value for money.