Chris Moyles by James Ellis, April 29th, 2002
RADIO 1's CHRIS Moyles is a divisive influence on the nation's air waves. People either love his comedic skits or think of him as a fat boor. Born in Leeds, he started his career in Top Shop radio before ending up in the Beeb's afternoon slot. This week, he's broadcasting from the US as part of the station's One Life travel campaign, encouraging people to go abroad.
Have you regretted anything you've said on air?
Off the top of my head, no - they're only words and I don't think you can hurt somebody that much with words. We're not maiming anybody or tearing people's legs off. We sit down and have a laugh. We've upset a few people but generally there's no malice - if people take it the wrong way, that's a shame. Sometimes, we get concerned if we upset somebody. Sometimes, we don't care. In fact, if we've really upset them, we might do it even more.
How do you deal with complaints?
People say I slag them off but it's being honest. You can say you don't like a record or you thought someone made a prat of themselves at an awards ceremony. We don't knock somebody just 'cos it's easy. Well, sometimes we do but people's reactions are funny. You get certain people who take it as a horrible insult.
Jo Whiley reportedly said you looked like one of The Fat Slags. Did you see that as an insult?
I don't know if she really said that but, if she did, to be insulted by a woman of such beauty is quite hurtful. I'm not really bothered. Pretty much every critic's review of our show is negative. I get more uncomfortable when somebody praises us because it's so rare.
Was Chris Evans saying you were the new him a bigger insult?
People went with that but I don't believe it either. If I could be 36, a millionaire and shagging a 19-year-old girl, I wouldn't care. Give me his money and his wife and then call me a wanker and see me smile.
Is it true you drank 25 pints in a night?
That was William Hague. Between us, Dave [Moyles's sidekick] and I can certainly down a lot of booze. When we started on Radio 1, we were on early shifts and I was 23 and had nothing better to do. Between 9am and 6pm, I'd be in the pub. There was a time when we were up there with the best of them. We're getting old now - Dave's almost 28 and he can only handle a couple of pints a night. Dave? He says eight. Yeah, he can only handle eight pints of vodka a night.
Would you still like to do the breakfast show?
I think we could do a good job and that's nothing against Sara Cox. I just think we'd have a different slant but Radio 1 would be too scared to put us there. To do what we do at breakfast would be fantastic. But the competition's bad; there's no-one to go up against - not like the old days of Zoe [Ball] and [Chris] Evans.
Would you relish the chance to take on Tarrant?
I think Tarrant's alright - I like Chris. Sooner or later he's going to get bored and go home. Yeah, I'd like it. We'd certainly give him a run for his money on breakfast. But then again, we're on afternoons and we give everyone a run for their money then. We're currently up against Dr Fox, for God's sake.
An easy battle?
Yeah, it pleases me every day that I finish before he does and I can be at home or in the pub while he's still rattling on about cranking your knob up and all that stuff.
Are you the skid marks on Radio 1's underpants?
Yeah, we're the bastard love-child of the BBC. On one hand, it loves us and, on the other, I think it would like us to disappear into the distance. Most people on the radio get it now. It's taken a while. I don't think they are scared any more, which is nice.
Would you like to choose what you play?
Yeah, but then again, if it was down to me, I'd just play all the stuff that I liked, so I suppose that would get a bit boring as well. The thing is, Radio 1 takes that decision out of my hands, so I'm told what to play but I'm not told what to say.
What would it take for you to walk away?
If they started clamping down on us. When I joined, we all knew what was going on. I was hired for a reason and I was hired to carry out certain things, which I've done. It's not like I go on the radio every day and surprise the bosses of Radio 1 by saying 'cow' or getting lap dancers in. They knew what they hired and that's that.