The Curse Of Radio 1, Five

by | Nov 16, 2004 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

An acute compendium of catastrophes in which the pompously premier radio station in Britain stumbled from one crisis to the next like a DJ overdosing on iniquitous insincerity and calculated conceit.

What to say if you didn’t like it

A typically tabloid vindictive assault on a national institution that mendaciously sought to illuminate the odd mishap while obscuring the teeming triumphs in a blizzard of white noise.

What was good about it?

• The often bizarre locations for the talking heads that were more interesting than what was said – Colin Murray whined in a London Eye capsule; Paul Morley spoke portentously from a park on top of a skyscraper; and Nicky Campbell grumbled on a stairwell in a derelict tower block as if begging for spare change.

• Joy Division’s Transmission was appositely used to soundtrack the desperate inanity of the Radio 1 Roadshows.

• The late John Peel’s accurate assessment of Tony Blackburn. “Tony Blackburn is a totally created person. Jollity at the flick of a switch. You wonder if he goes to the toilet.”

• Once more reliving the joy of Dave Lee Travis’s hilariously haughty resignation from Radio 1. Listeners were finally able to emerge from their soundproof shelters under dinner tables and sheds at the end of the garden as the popular airwaves were cleansed of his baleful ego.

• The awful Status Quo demanding that Radio 1 play their new single.

• Bruno Brookes looking and sounding like a once luscious and verdant field that is now barren and infertile, and is destined now for all eternity to be wasteland where gangland killers burn the corpses of their recently executed enemies.

• Mike Read’s very scary stalker. Shopkeeper: “I thought he was gay”, Stalker: “Don’t you ever say that about him!”

What was bad about it?

• Tony Blackburn “accidentally” dropping his listening figures into the conversation.

• The manner in which small incidents, such as a DJ resigning, were frequently heralded with the sort of exaggerated headlines used by the Sun or Daily Mail.

• Sun journalist Dominic Mohan ignorantly perpetuating the myth that in 1997 there was a “Cool Britannia feeling around the country”. That miasmic stench didn’t stretch very far beyond the borders of Camden and Islington.

• The fact that, like in the Curse of Noel Edmonds, there was very little evidence of a “curse”. Radio 1 has existed in the media spotlight for almost 40 years and the various troubles only looked like a curse when condensed into a cheap hotch-potch of subjective clips and opinions.

• The way in which dips in ratings were presented as national calamities and the blame universally placed in the lap of Radio 1 bosses, largely ignoring the increased deregulation of commercial and specialist radio stations

• Radio 1 winning “credibility” by having the Gallagher brothers (from Oasis, in case you forgot) swear for an hour on Steve Lamaq’s show.

• Chris Tarrant’s condescending narration.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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