The Early Bit
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The Early Bit was a show broadcast on BBC Radio 1, presented by Chris Moyles with Comedy Dave from July 1997 to October 1998. The show went out every weekday from 4-7am, preceding Mark and Lard's breakfast show until October 1997, and later Zoe Ball and Kevin Greening's breakfast show.
Joined at first by producer Simon Barnett and broadcast assistant Jude Adam, Chris soon developed a friendship with fellow overnight host Clive Warren, who made regular appearances on the show. As too did Dave Vitty, at the time a technical operative, working as the London-based button puncher on the Manchester-based Mark and Lard Breakfast Show.
Dave Vitty, (christened "Comedy Dave" by comedian Lee Hurst because he 'wasn't very funny'), joined the show alongside new producer, Ben Cooper.
The show added 200,000 listeners before the end of 1997, boosting Chris' listenership to over a million. He was handed the additional 6-9am Saturday Breakfast Show as a result.
This is the show on which Moyles first worked with Simon Hollis (aka Melinda), who’d later go on to work on The Afternoon Show.
By April 1998, Chris was the regular stand-in for Kevin Greening and Zoë Ball on The Radio One Breakfast Show. He had originally been considered as a candidate to take over the breakfast show full time, but was held back because of a lack of experience. He lost half an hour of his show when Zoe and Kevin took over the breakfast show, as a decision was made to start the show at 6:30.
A successful stint for Moyles on the Radio One Summer Roadshow tour wowing crowds of screaming fans was followed by the main compere slot at the V98 Festival in Leeds in August.
In an ill-advised move, Chris also appeared semi-naked for Sky Magazine’s summer edition.
He also presented from Ibiza as part of Radio One's Ibiza '98 coverage, but wasn't invited back until 2003. (This he blames on Comedy Dave behaving inappropriately with a competition winner whilst there).
1998 also saw Chris' first upheld complaint on Radio One, when a woman caller faked an orgasm on the air. Moyles called it "girl power" and said the complaint was "probably from some bloke who’d never heard one before".
Early Bit features included The Six O'Clock Moment, Small Traffic and What's The Word Or Words. Chris' catchphrase at the time was "Come On!!!!" and he also used to regularly sing songs about Mark and Lard.
"They need me to come and kick the station up the arse, that's what they hired me to do. What do I bring to the station? Me and my little world, everything that goes with it including big breasted women, crap competitions, the word 'crap' - been missing for far too long - dwarves, dwarf tossings off bridges... my world. I'm the saviour of broadcasting."'Moyles on Radio One, Deluxe Magazine Interview - May 1998
On 8 May 1998, after only nine months at Radio One, Chris won the Silver Sony Radio Award for "DJ Of The Year". He was only beaten to the prize by Radio 1 colleague Jo Whiley, who said at the time he looked like "one of the Fat Slags from Viz".
Other memorable moments included naked callers on True or False and Chris' first song parodies, including his take on Barbie Girl by Aqua, the amazing Ballad Of Tescos (a parody of The Ballad of Tom Jones by Space and Cerys Matthews) - and a special tribute to ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
Chris offended a whole host of his colleagues in his first year at the station, including Mark and Lard, Mary Anne Hobbs, Simon Mayo, Mark Goodier and Nicky Campbell. He goes into more detail in his first book about these incidents.
John Peel also took against Chris and accused him of being a "DLT-in-waiting" (DLT being Dave Lee Travis, a former Radio 1 DJ). Moyles retorted that Peel was a "Kenny Everett-in-waiting, because Kenny Everett's dead and it’s only a matter of time before John pops his clogs". Later, the pair made up and became friends. Chris made an emotional on-air tribute to Peel after his death in 2004.
Perhaps Chris’s most high-profile falling out was in July 1998 with TV show Never Mind The Buzzcocks host Mark Lamarr, following his poor showing on the BBC2 quiz. Chris admitted he was crap on the air the following week, but then received a phone call from Lamarr at home. Lamarr accused Chris of slagging off the programme and being the reason that future guest Natalie Appleton had pulled out of appearing on the show. Chris retaliated by saying that Lamarr was "about as popular at Hitler" when he was on Radio One.
The pair traded insults on their respective shows for months, and were once nearly involved in a punch up in a BBC corridor. After Lamarr threatened to kill Chris at the 1999 Brit Awards, a decision was made to stop mentioning him on the air.
End of the Show
In late 1998, Chris was promoted to afternoons on Radio 1. Chris' final ever Early Bit show was broadcast on Friday 2nd October 1998, and featured regular show contributor David The Photographer (aka David Flint).
Only three shows of the Radio 1 Early Bit are available to download from the archive. Please note that these are not full shows and the music has been edited out.