Chris Moyles departs from BBC Radio 1 breakfast show

Sunday, September 16, 2012

File photo of Chris Moyles from September 11, 2009.
Image: Rabbro.

Radio personality Chris Moyles presented his last edition of The Chris Moyles Show, a breakfast radio programme on UK station BBC Radio 1, from 0630 to 1000 BST (0530 to 0900 UTC) Friday. At its peak in 2010, the programme was receiving an audience of 7.9 million.

Moyles, who had been presenting the breakfast show since January 2004, announced his departure in July. Moyles said he had had "the best time of [his] life" and wished to "give [the listeners] a heads up and tell [them] that we are going to wrap it up" on his show on July 11.

"Thanks for supporting us," Moyles told his audience that morning, "and, with the risk of sounding ridiculously cheesy, for making all our dreams come true." To get as far as he did was like "some weird victory", he said, taking into account "all the flak we've taken".

The first song played on the last show was 'Blind Faith' by Chase & Status featuring Liam Bailey. The last was Coldplay's 'Viva la Vida'.

Moyles, who has referred to himself as the 'saviour of Radio 1', broke the record for the longest-running breakfast show on Radio 1 in September 2009, surpassing Tony Blackburn's record from September 1967 to June 1973. The Chris Moyles Show has also achieved two Sony Awards. From later this month, Moyles is to portray the role of Herod in a UK tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

File photo of Nick Grimshaw (right) from November 21, 2009.
Image: Katherine Oneill.

Moyles said his position was "his dream job" and one he had "wanted since I was a child ... I wanted the biggest radio show you could get and eventually I got it", he said. BBC Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper considered Moyles to be "the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1 history" and described him as "fantastic".

Nick Grimshaw, who was previously a late-night presenter at the radio station, is scheduled to replace him on September 24, although Greg James was reportedly widely anticipated to take Moyles' position after his departure before the news emerged. "[I am] super-excited to be hosting the iconic Radio 1 Breakfast Show," Grimshaw said in July. "[I]t's been a dream of mine since the age of 11 and to be honest it hasn't really sunk in yet." Grimshaw said he "love[s] Chris and [has] always looked up to him as one of the best broadcasters ever".

However, Moyles' show has not been without its controversial moments. One such incident was a remark he made after his appearance on BBC television programme Who Do You Think You Are? in January 2009. "[U]nlike a lot of the Who Do You Think You Are? shows I didn't go to Auschwitz," he said. "Pretty much everyone goes there whether or not they're Jewish. They just seem to pass through there on their way to Florida." The incident prompted the BBC to respond: "[W]e regret that on this occasion his comments were misjudged and we are speaking to Chris and his team about them."

In a separate incident in a May 2006 programme, Moyles said he did not want to get a certain ringtone because it was "gay", prompting accusations of homophobia. In his defence, the corporation explained "the word 'gay', in addition to being used to mean 'homosexual' or 'carefree', was often now used to mean 'lame' or 'rubbish'." The Guardian also quoted Moyles as saying in November 2006: "Yeah, I'm homophobic, I don't like the gays. Sorry, it just does my head in." LGBT charity Stonewall awarded Moyles 'Bully of the Year' at their award ceremony the same year.

At the time of Moyles' departure being announced in July, Cooper was reportedly placed under pressure to try and decrease the age demographic of the audience of Radio 1. Having been told the station should attempt to broadcast primarily to individuals aged between 15 and 29 by a BBC Trust review in 2009, a separate review by the body in June 2012 found too many of its listeners were over the age of 30.

Cooper described Grimshaw as a "great broadcaster with a passion for music and a mischievous sense of humour" back in July and believed he would be an "excellent" replacement for Moyles, "bringing a new generation of listeners with him."