The curse of Radio 1

November 16th, 2004

Last night I watched a programme about Radio 1. It was broadcast on channel Five of all places and narrated by Chris Tarrant. Tarrant, of course, was a long-time ratings rival of the Radio 1 breakfast show and took a large hit when Chris Evans was in the hot seat. So it was inevitable that he displayed no a small amount of glee at the ‘curse of Radio 1’. The programme was very good and followed the same path of postulating suggested by Simon Garfield’s book The Nation’s Favourite.

Interviews with the Big Hairy Cornflake Dave Lee Travis show him to continue to be endearing even after all these years. The same can’t be said for Simon Bates who evidently declined to be interviewed for the programme. His exit from the station was briefly captured on camera with Bates curtly announcing that he quit and was not fired. Yeah yeah. Well he moved onto a successful career making pious messages at the start of videos, warning us about the sex and violence contained therein. I listened to Radio 1 this morning (a less regular occurrence for me lately) and Moyles was evidently enjoying his position as the ‘new Dave Lee Travis’, making use of arch-rival Tarrant’s narration clips as jingles.

Moyles of course is a total radio DJ trainspotter from the old school who’d undoubtedly admit that as a kid he loved the glory days of Simon Bates, Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw. Though he was bullied by Simon Bates in his rookie days at the station. The listening figures continue to peel away from the station as a whole but Moyles is attracting slightly more than Wogan right now. Controller Andy Parfit professes to not be worried and that the station’s remit is to be a broad in musical spectrum as the BBC charter dictates. Whilst the show was certainly engaging and a ever-so-slight move away from the usual trash found wallowing on five, it was a shame that John Peel was reduced to a mere footnote “John Peel, now sadly passed away..” in fact the show nearly wrote itself off by suggesting that Peel was an boring old fogey. Yet at 65, he still managed to be the most relevant of DJ on the station.

Update: Today, “Wes”, host of the Sunday evening UK Top 40 has been axed.