TV Cream

Radio 1: The Jocks

BATES, Simon

Simply SimesBESPECTACLED 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.



  1. simon hayes budgen

    June 13, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Nooo! Not ‘Morning Simon’… it was “Good morning world” “Morning Simes”

    Every bloody day for a thousand years.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    June 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    However, he had ratings that the current morning show host, Jo Whiley, can only dream of and lasted a very long time at Radio 1 so must have done something right.

  3. TVS

    June 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    The Golden Hour was like listening to a slow motion holocaust…..

  4. David Pascoe

    June 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Provided a memorable TV Cream catchphrase a year or so back, “Simon Bates may have been retrospectively involved”.

    I saw a YouTube clip of him interviewing Jonathan King on Top of the Pops circa 1980. Bates was a good deal more avuncular than I remembered.

  5. David Pascoe

    June 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Actually I think I got the catchphrase wrong, it was more like “Simon Bates may have been involved but I could be retrospectively mis-remembering.”


  6. Glenn Aylett

    June 29, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Yet he had 9 million listeners in the eighties and I’m sure large numbers of workers downed tools when Our Tune came on. Jo Whiley probably only attracts a fraction of this and most workplaces locally either have Radio 2 or CFM on now.

  7. TV Cream

    August 25, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Well remembered, David. This was indeed a TV Cream catchphrase, specifically in the months of October and November 2006. The precise wording was: “Simon Bates seemed to be heavily involved, but this may be retrospective wishful thinking.” It was first used with reference to the Citizen’s Charter, then to Cliff Richard releasing both Christmas AND New Year-themed singles in the winter of 1991/92, then to simply The Two Ronnies.

  8. Anthony

    August 26, 2009 at 7:51 am

    This feature on R1 was my favourite part of Simes golden hour!

  9. Aidy

    September 29, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    “Simes” may well have had 9 million listeners back in the day but, lets be honest, Radio 1 was the only place to hear records from the Top 40 and there was nowhere near the sheer number of stations,and therefore competition,that there is now.I did enjoy his show though, with “The Birthday File” and,in the days of the new Top 40 being on Tuesdays, Simes’ prediction of a new number 1 would come when ” Old Mother Bates vision has appeared” in the corridor of Radio 1.Lets not forget his regular “I will play a record then I will have Jagger/Bowie/Madonna etc on the phone”.Legend!!

  10. Adrian

    September 29, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I believe the ‘syrupy music’ in question was Henri Mancini’s ‘Theme To Romeo & Juliet’. As you were!

  11. John Sullivan

    January 1, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    This appalling man used to make the morning’s drag at work in the late eighties.

  12. Gareth James

    January 2, 2010 at 10:23 am

    ‘Our Tune’ theme (“And then just when it seemed as if things were getting better, Joshua/Alan/Grace fell into the threshing machine/got hit by a tram / ran into a blazing barn.”) was Nino Rota’s music from Romeo and Juliet.

  13. Brian Rowland

    January 2, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    From time to time, Bates would rather self-satisfiedly play the same record twice in succession to show what a maverick he was. Only time I can specify though was his double-play of Feargal Sharkey’s Loving You in 1985. No, it wasn’t Feargal’s version of the Minnie Riperton classic.(Don’t) imagine that.

  14. Barbara

    July 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

    John Barrowman seems to have revived the schmaltziness of Our Tune with Tonight’s The Night – BBC-1 think someone having really bad luck means they’re equipped to sing in a musical.

    Yeah, right.

  15. wilberforce

    August 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Ugh! The oleaginous Simon Bates… Or “Slimy” Bates as I used to call him.

    Behind those unctuous tones of mock-sincerity lurked a cardboard-cutout of a man utterly devoid of anything of interest to say. It was also apparent that he had no interest in contemporary pop music whatsoever – you can argue that about most of his peers, but at least they had “personalities” or gimmicks that made their shows fun. All Slimy could offer was the vomit-inducing “Our Tune”. At the time my tolerance levels were a lot higher than now, and I could stomach most daytime Radio 1 DJ’s despite the fact the music they played was usually complete shite, but when it came to Slimy I had to reach for the “off” switch faster than a speeding bullet (or failing that, move out of earshot equally quickly). It was bleedin’ obvious to me that the man was strictly Radio 2 middle-aged housewife fodder – how he lasted so long on Radio 1 when he was so obviously unsuited will forever remain a mystery to me. The fact that he looked more like a bank manager than a DJ (with a leering face that begged to have the living daylights punched out of it) made things even worse…

    On top of all that, I had another reason to personally despise the man. I was brought up in a small seaside town/port on the south coast, and in the late 70’s most of the big Radio 1 names used to appear at the local ballroom during the summer. Of course, for us sleb-starved carrot-crunchers this was the nearest we got to superstars in the flesh, so these events were usually packed to the rafters. Anyway, Slimy appeared at one I attended, and whilst a record was playing, I grabbed his attention and asked if he would put in a word for a local church-hall disco I was putting on the following week. Instead of being upfront and saying “Sorry, no chance”, he replied along the lines that he’d see what he could do. Shortly afterwards when he was doing his thing on stage, he caught my eye in the crowd, and announced in the smuggest of smug tones (not actually that difficult when your middle name is smug) “As you know, I work for the BBC… so of course I’m not allowed to do any advertising”… BASTARD!!!

  16. Glenn A

    September 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    If you watch the original Death Race 2000, the television presenter looks worryingly like the Bates and is just as insincere.

  17. Glenn A

    January 29, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    He had 9 million listeners because a large part of the country had no alternative to Radio 1 at the time. Myself, after the Golden Hour, I switched The Bates off as I couldn’t stand the namedropping rubbish, ” I think I spotted Madonna outside Harrods yesterday”, his championing of abysmal one hit wonders like Karel Hey Matthew Fialka and Our Tune. Jimmy Young was far more interesting, with his guests and features.

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