Three years ago, Jokerside opened its account with a look back at Chris Moyles’ final show on Radio 1. So, in the month of that third anniversary it’s very good of Chris Moyles to stage a much-hyped come-back on the retooled, regenerated and surely soon to be revived Radio X (formerly, XFM).
And he’s brought friends. Jokerside listened to his comeback show…
LOOKING BACK THREE YEARS… JOKERSIDE’S OPENING GAMBIT, A REVIEW OF CHRIS MOYLES LAST STEPS FROM BROADCASTING HOUSE, WAS A BLOODY MORBID AFFAIR. AWASH WITH TALK OF EPOCHS, ERAS AND AONS ENDING. Without so much as a Sic transit gloria mundi – although no one could have heard it over the wails of the gremlin scribes being crushed underfoot. “That’s no way to start a blog….” Splat. Well, now the next generation, a forgiving bunch, sit in polite applause. And it’s not simply that the intervening content has taken all their ire. No. A new era has begun. On 21st September, two days before autumn, pips rang out at 6.30 am on a new radio station with a familiar voice.
“I’m glad the stars have aligned…”
Three years ago there was the quandary, subsequently proved to affect a large Moyles diaspora. On Radio 1, the belligerent Breakfast experiment saw the station target the younger market with masochistic downsizing to the no-gimmick Nick Grimshaw show. Even the show’s name was diminished. The idea of hanging on to Radio 1, so at least a few songs in the charts would stick in the head, was soon untenable. It was a change less admirable than the inarguable logic and commitment behind its change. And that’s from someone who previously abandoned the show during Sara Cox’s ill-advised reign. Grimshaw simply wasn’t boisterous enough, none of that balance of seat of the pants, intuitive and delicately planned broadcasting.
At the end, Moyles himself had knowingly pushed listeners onto BBC 6Music. Aside from that there was the rising trajectory of Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2, with his increasingly dazzling work ethic and fine-tunery now surely keeping him at full stretch. The Today Programme and FiveLive were serious options, but missing some notes. Away from the state broadcaster, the Global channels were an option, although Classic FM and Heart were again not boisterous enough. There was more hanging on this than I thought.
Perhaps like Johnny Vaughan, now lodged in the drive time slot after Moyles, it was a safe bet that the former Saviour of Radio 1 wouldn’t return to the early shift after his record breaking stint and dignified withdrawal. But so he has. There’s still something to say. And as undeniably one of the most gifted radio raconteurs of his generation, I’m glad the stars have aligned on what’s now called Radio X to make that happen.
“Britain’s newest fun time radio station”
In short, since 2012, that heady year of the Olympics, Britain hasn’t changed too much. Sure, the Tories have a majority and now nobody knows the leader of the Liberal Democrats, but the most devastating thing to happen in UK politics since the coalition of 2010 (bar Tony Benn passing on) was the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, cemented a week before Moyles’ return. Even Bond, who’s last Albion-centric excursion helped solidify 2012 as one of the UK’s best years is returning within six weeks of Moyles’ debut. And just as the self-styled saviour, occasional enfant terrible of the airwaves left at the Queen’s Jubilee, so he returns just as Her Majesty’s taken the record for the longest reign. Back then Doctor Who was about to lose a companion, same now. The more things change, the more they stay the same – as I used to say in an old job of mine. But while the world seems to have shuffled during Moyles’ exile, the DJ is fond of saying that he’s a changed man. Though not too changed…
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