BROADCASTING’S HOTTEST PROPERTY parachuted in as cornerstone of Bannisterisation process, replacing tired time-honoured Weekend Morning riffathon tradition with phone-in based disorientating proto-Cream blend of bewilderingly esoteric nostalgic chatter, ridiculous stunts performed over the phone, bizarre listener-experienced real-life events, quests to find the scariest musical note ever (“Why don’t they just pull over and let him park?”) and the most insane rendition of Smoke On The Water (including one played on ‘kindling’), and the frankly indescribable The University Of Turmoil. The best thing ever broadcast on Radio 1 by some considerable distance but sadly never caught on, due partly to witless tabloid hate campaign, and the show was steadily shaved of running time (“We’re like Boxing Helena!”) until there was literally nothing left of it.
ULTIMATE MANIFESTIATION of the Bannisterisation process, in the form of an Altered States-style time-bending mutation that straddled the best and worst of old and new-style Radio 1 both at once, courtesy of belch-friendly ‘ladette’ persona (eg lots of censure-inviting swearing mixed with excited chatter about snogging someone out of an indie band and trying to remember PC Copper’s name). Started in the outer fringes of the schedules until a long-time-coming Chris Evans strop ultimately saw her catapulted into hugely successful Breakfast stint (initially co-hosting with Kevin Greening), to audible consternation of old ladies on the bus.
TV CREAM SAYS: "WENT TO SEE THAT LOT LIVE LAST NIGHT! GOT A... LITTLE BIT
TIPSY, SORRY LISTENERS..."
BESPECTACLED HOUSEWIVES’ CHOICE POLTROON who mystifyingly became a ‘national phenomenon’ in the eighties, thanks to Kleenex-baiting, HGV-stopping maudlin request slot Our Tune. That never-changing 11am format in full – syrupy music, Simes’ sympathetic tones… “Godda ledder from a young laydee from Bristol, we’ll call her Carol. Now, last year, Carol went on holiday to Menorca, where she met Brian. They got on well, had a few drinks, a few laughs… before the inevitable happened”. The inevitable would be either Brian and Carol splitting up, Brian and Carol marrying, Brian and Carol marrying and splitting up, Brian dying, Brian ending up in a wheelchair, Carol ending up in a wheelchair, Carol having an abortion, Carol having a baby, the baby ending up in a wheelchair. Or they’re all happily living together (unlikely, though). Whatever the tragedy, it was always 10cc’s I’m Not In Love as Their Tune. Also presided over The Golden Hour (“but what was the year?”), and prone to prattling on about his production team and BBC management as if anyone cared, tedious documentary-fronting, unreasonable pomposity (“Morning World” – “Morning Simon!”), and flights of politicised disgust over ‘issues’ that would usually end up with him harrumphing “nope… bedda pudda record on… nope, it’s no good, I can’t find the words” etc. Disliked by fellow Radio 1 DJs to the extent that John Peel, ‘Kid’ Jensen and Paul Burnett once formed an ad-hoc assault team to ‘get’ him in the car park after the Christmas Party (he never turned up), and one of the first out of the door in 1993. Still flogging the increasingly threadbare Our Tune format, always with that bloody Zeferelli-sourced music, wherever anyone will allow him.
TV CREAM SAYS: "PLEASE - WRITE IN, TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK, AND I'LL TELL NINE
MILLION OTHER PEOPLE"
FORMER RADIO LONDON PIRATE (wherein began long-running feud with John Peel) who became the first ever Radio 1 DJ bar none, whose dulcet tones and perma-slightly sloping hairstyle introduced The Move’s Flowers In The Rain all those years ago. Never really shifted from bog-standard, down-the-line, Transatlantic-accented ‘pop’ persona, except for late seventies interlude when he repeatedly blubbed down the microphone because his missus, Tessa ‘Robin’s Nest’ Wyatt, dumped him. Shunted to Weekend Breakfasts in the eighties, along with his solitary gimmick – Arnold The Dog, a tape loop of some poor Radiophonic Workshop underling scraping the inside of a dustbin in an attempt to create a barking dog sound (why they couldn’t just use a tape of a real dog has never been satisfactorarily explained), and a hastily roped-in Keith Chegwin and Maggie Philbin to helm a Junior Choice revival (Captain Bastard Beaky first sighted here). Such reckless overmanning meant something had to give, and a sideways move to the Top Forty was rapidly followed by his departure for pastures Commercial Radio.
TV CREAM SAYS: "OK GANG, WHADDAYA THINK, IS THIS A LOAD OF GARBAGE?"
LATE EIGHTIES token girlie jock with hairspray addiction to match, starting off as a glorified weather girl before her loudly-stated musical tastes saw her graduate to Drivetime, and latterly scaring lunchtime listeners with hefty doses of Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Oddly, left Radio 1 just as the overall setup was swinging her way, relocating to America and becoming a TV ‘showbiz’ reporter with traditionally-spelt name to boot.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SAD, MAD AND ADDICTED"
ONCE THE BRIGHTEST STAR in the Radio 1 firmament, a self-styled ‘Compact Disc Jockey’ who arrived at Radio One to take over the teatime slot from Peter Powell, armed with a list of hilarious Twisted Lyrics (ie humour-free misheard songwords that had already been done by every bloody DJ under the sun anyway). Later fronted the TOP FORTY, and countless ‘Social Awareness’ campaigns, before being teamed for no good reason with Liz Kershaw on the Weekend Breakfast show (cue endless ‘comedy’ charity fund-raising duets), before Matthew Bannister fired him over the phone in front of a conference of beery students in 1995. Always the kind of DJ to be pictured pointing at a record in his Radio 1 promotional photo.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SORT IT!"
MULTI-PURPOSE one-size-fits-all occupant of whatever slot happened to be vacant, like a more restrained version of the ‘Welly Boot’-era Big Guns yet always more than happy to join in some bit of multihanded unfunny noveltyness with them, most notoriously the wretched parody-of-a-parody Convoy GB by ‘Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks’ (ie him and DLT, in ‘disguise’).
TV CREAM SAYS: "IT'S TIME TO REVEAL TODAY'S... PUB OF THE DAY!"
SELF-APPOINTED late-night one-man intellectual outpost with clever-clogs quizzes, serious guest roster (Edward Heath, Paddy Ashdown, Frank Zappa, pre-stardom REM etc), about six Van Morrison tracks every night (this may well have been the ‘musical plan’ that his jingles promised), ‘guessing’ phone-in callers’ star signs, doing funny pretend Doug E Fresh-era raps over the few dance tracks that made it under the wire onto his show (“Have you noticed all these dance records all sound the same? Here’s Deacon Blue”), irrational dislike for The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Blur, insistence on billing himself as Nicholas Andrew Argyle Campbell, and the mighty combination of sub-Week Ending satire and rock snob boredom incarnate that was The Teasingly Topical Triple Tracker. Also the architect of a legendary April Fool’s Day stunt in which it was announced that Simon Bates had been made Minister For Pop, rewarded for his efforts with a bottle of Moet from station controller Johnny Beerling.
TV CREAM SAYS: "HERE'S DEACON BLUE"
FORMERLY in Knees Club-zaniness cahoots with Kenny Everett on Radio London, though hired by Radio 1 for more ‘serious rock’ duties, including helming Light Programme-imported early live concert slot Monday Monday just as the traditional tame cover bands were being ousted by Hendrix, Floyd, The Move et al. Within a couple of years was back doing ‘The Funnies’ with Everett on Capital Radio.
TV CREAM SAYS: "GROOVY, BABY!"
ONE OF A NUMBER of exciting new comedians brought in to try their hand at being DJs in the mid-nineties, starting off trying to do it relatively ‘straight’ and floundering badly as a result, before throwing in the towel completely and building the show around an insane narrative about trying to tunnel under the earth to meet The French Alan Davies (no, really), complete with zany characters like indie moaner Stacey Ringworm, eco-friendly early Bill Bailey creation Jake The Crusty, and ‘Alan’s Mad Ex-Bird’. Last seen repositioning the show as a parody of Chris Evans’ Breakfast hoo-hah, with a couple of quite good parodies of the likes of Whigfield, before Jonathan Creek came calling. Show was also temporarily home to highly banned Michael Redmond sitcom Eammon, Older Brother Of Jesus.
TV CREAM SAYS: "PLASTIC BERTRAND YOU WIN, SEVE BALLASTEROS YOU LOSE"
PERHAPS THE EMBODIMENT of eighties red-white-and-blue-bodywarmer, get-your-R1-bugs-from-Smiley-Miley-on- the-Goodiemobile DJs, carving a ludicrous niche as the network’s ‘sex symbol’ (“Young, Free and Single!”), with embarrassing nudge-nudge patter on his Bit In The Middle and ‘Woo! Gary Davies!’ jingles. Regular features included The Sloppy Bit (a tired ballad), producer-derived ivory-tinking Willie On The Plonker, and The Day To Day Challenge; a five-day competition where the prizes included a pair of Radio One boxer shorts. Later attempted to reinvent himself as a man with musical taste, discovering Radiohead in the process, but to no avail – he was one of the first casualties of Bannisterisation.
TV CREAM SAYS: "WOO!"
SATURDAY-NIGHT-JAPESMITHERY-in-waiting with bearded bouffanted melange of zany stunts, madcap jokes and Funny Phone Calls™ (“Hello, your library book is twenty seven years overdue!”), firstly essayed on little-remembered tryout ‘character’ slot, then hasty propulsion Weekend Breakfast-wards to replace an inevitably booted Kenny Everett, then the main Breakfast gig (lots of pretending to spill coffee over Tony Blackburn), then most infamously Sunday mornings, where he pretended to present the show from – ahem – a country house with a funny name. ‘Dingley Dell’ played host to sonorous R4 bloke Brian Perkins reading the news, John Gielgud reading The Railway Children, ‘Desmond The Duck’, the inexplicable doling out of ‘Welly Boot Stickers’ as prizes, and Captain Beaky And His Band every bloody week. All tied in neatly with his Swap Shop duties, but once there were bigger televisual fish to fry, Radio 1 had to get the old heave-ho.
TV CREAM SAYS: "HELLO? I'D LIKE TO BOOK A BAND TO PLAY IN THE NUDE PLEASE..."
THE FLUFFMEISTER’S loveable, never-changing, Brentford Nylons-flogging patter reverberated through vehicles as diverse as the Saturday Rock Show and the Pick Of The Pops countdown, counting down the hits over the majestic At The Sound Of The Swinging Cymbal, not to mention the first ever Roadshow. Brought back in late eighties to plug Savile-sized gap in weekend schedules, reviving Pick Of The Pops as scratched 7″-prone oldies showcase, replete with those catchphrases: “Greetings pop pickers!”, “All right? Stay bright!”, “Not ‘arf!”. By dint of his apparent lack of ego, a genuine love of music and his eagerness to send himself and the whole thing up, a national treasure.
And here’s how we paid tribute to Fluff back in 2006…
TV CREAM SAYS: "DOWN AT THIS WEEK'S TWELVE, THE SENSATIONAL KINKS, AND APEMAN"
OBSERVERITE daughter of Liberal gourmet and cat food salesman Clement installed by The Bannister on lunchtime show, main running feature researchers attempting to answer obscure questions sent in by listeners – eg how much does TV ad airtime cost? – with comic interjections from a verge-of-Hollywood Craig Ferguson and a nascent Andy Davies doing the weather with sound effects. Shown the door after mass unpopularity with listeners (and Chris Morris), which doesn’t explain why she was then replaced by the hopeless Lisa I’Anson.