Sunday, 9 May 2010

When Chris Moyles Met the Radio 1 DJs

Having sat through Chris Moyles' Quiz Night with, I must admit, some trepidation, but ultimately being rewarded, like a six year old who sits quietly at the dinner table and gets some sweeties and a pat on the head afterwards, I sauntered into Chris Moyles' newest venture, a history of the Radio 1 breakfast slot expecting roughly the same outcome. I sat quietly all the way through the dinner, and at the end, someone smashed me in the face with a cricket bat and stole my juice.

First off, and I would like to make this abundantly clear, Chris Moyles should not be presenting documentaries, be they about radio, or wolfing down pies, or his other areas of expertise. He's decent enough as a radio presenter, but somehow I kind of prefer other documentary makers (Even Louis Theroux, and as far as I can work out he just goes round to a fat person's house and goes "Wow, you're fat!" and "How did you let yourself get so fat?" or an old person going "Wow, you're old!" and "What's it like being so old?", etcetera) to a radio presenter.

Let me make an argument. It may not be very important, but radio presenters are by and large, not very interesting. And those that are refused to appear on the show (Chris Evans being a prime example. I'd like to imagine he refused the call going "Documentary about Radio 1? Sounds interesting, who's hosting? Chris Moyles? Really? I'm terribly afraid I'm busy being successful." and an element of "I don't really want to discuss when I went totally mental") and so we were left with about 8 DJs telling us about their time with Radio 1, all set against a backdrop of Britain between 1980 and about 2003.

We started with Mike Read, who told us a story about playing guitar with Cliff Richard in front of Princess Diana and her kids whilst abroad skiing, but wasn't allowed to say it on the radio because at the time, it was too "Name-droppy", not like nowadays, where it's "Celebrity". Chris audibly gasped, which amused me (if you're watching this show, you have to take a lot of pleasure in the small things), then I realised that he wasn't actually going to say that it is STILL a tad name-droppy, and shouted at Chris Moyles for letting that slide. I mean, I know Moyles isn't exactly Paxman, but even I went "Ha, you think that's not name-dropping?" at Mike Read.

Once Mike Read finished telling the story of the time he and the Pope saved Margaret Thatcher (not really, I made that story up.) we skipped along with a post-interview soliloquy by Moyles, in a manner not dissimilar to a slick radio link, as we went to our next dull Radio 1 DJ: Mike Smith.

Mike Smith (Or Smithy, according to the voiceover) hosted the show for 2 years, and is now completely uninvolved with radio, the only one with the good sense to just pack it in and start a helicopter school (This is a man I feel probably has a few stories to tell, but was limited to talking solely about Radio 1, then coerced into saying "I miss it" by Moyles going "Do you miss it?!" incessantly.) and since he was at the station for 2 years and had a relatively uneventful time there, the interview was padded out with Chris Moyles going in a helicopter, even though he hates flying, and then another soliloquy throughout which Chris is swept away in his car and tells us that Smithy really misses radio, then another swift, smooth link to Simon Mayo.

It was around this time I zoned out, and I genuinely can't remember what happened over the next 40 minutes of the show. It wasn't so suitably dreadful as to be enthralling, it wasn't so suitably entertaining as to be amusing, I ended up watching it to pass the time, another brief moment of dullness snatched from the gaping jaws of possibility. It was decidedly mediocre, no more, no less. If it were on say, the 4-5 slot on BBC 2, I would go "Yeah, that's about right, it's daytime-tastic" (Although, that said, Pointless is a magnificent daytime TV show, as is Bargain Hunters. There's some gems on the telly during the day, I even liked Goldenballs on ITV, but the rules were more longwinded and needlessly complex than a new Mahjong-Cluedo crossover game which must be played only with people proficient in Bridge, as there is some elements from that in there too.) but to put this show, boldly, on at 9 o'clock in the evening as part of a fully fledged "Radio 1 night" (I swear to goodness, I'm not making this up) is essentially madness.

Perhaps my hopes were raised too high by Chris Moyles' Quiz night, maybe this isn't his sort of format, who knows, what I can tell you is I watched this and was disappointed thatit was so bland and mediocre. I prefer outrageous failure and overambition to repetitive drudgery, and perhaps this is where the BBC fails.

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