Radio 1: a love story

*cue Our Tune music*

On Twitter yesterday, Jenny Colgan tweeted a photo of a bunch of Radio 1 DJs from the 80s and reminded me of my 80s obsession with Radio 1. The only times I ever bunked off school were Radio 1-related. I remember faking illness because there was something I wanted to hear (and there was no iPlayer back then, kids!). It must have been 1984, cos I remember listening to Culture Club’s The War Song lying on my bed with my legs up the wall.

In 1985, Simon Bates had an interview with Wham! that ran every morning for a week. He said he’d be giving away tickets to The Final concert at Wembley. I bunked off every morning and sneaked into my aunty’s house to listen (my mum was at home, my aunty wasn’t). I somehow managed to miss the competition. (The interview was good though.)

In 1987, we went on a school trip to London and Pippa Taylor and I sat on at bench at Seven Dials to listen to the chart rundown. (It was Tuesday lunchtimes then, yes? With Gary Davies? I bloody loved Gary Davies. I hunted out this jingle yesterday and it made me cry. Really.) I looked in a London phonebook for a G Michael, rang it and asked if George was there. (He wasn’t.) When I came out of the phonebox, a man went in and found the purse I’d left in there. He gave it back to me, thank goodness. I literally don’t remember a single other thing about the trip.

In 1988, I bunked off school to go to the Radio 1 Roadshow in Southport. Someone came into the crowd and asked for volunteers for Bits & Pieces. Do you remember Bits & Pieces? I LOVED it. And I was really good at it. Even though I was shy, I was desperate to get on and do it. When they told me I was going to be on, I rang home and said something like “I know I’m supposed to be at school, but I’m actually in Southport and I’m about to be on radio, can you record it? Yes, yes, you can tell me off later…”

(Thanks to the fabulous website, Radio Rewind, you can hear Bits & Pieces. Not the one I was on, obv – I no longer have the tape – but still.)

Anyway, when the DJ interviewed me (I’m pretty sure it was Steve Wright, but I’m not 100%, which is mad considering how much I loved Steve Wright. You’d think I’d remember) (see update below!), he asked if I was a Bros fan. I answered, “Brosette, yeah.” How did he know I was a Bros fan? I was wearing (fake) Doc Martens, cut-off jeans, a white t-shirt and a bandanna. Shut up. Also, just a year later I would move to London and spend many, many hours standing outside Matt Goss’s house where wearing that outfit and/or calling myself a “Brosette, yeah” would have been the kiss of death. (You can read more about it here. You know you want to.)

So I won Bits & Pieces. Oh yes. And then I was carried offstage by Gaylord the Gorilla. Oh no.


Gaylord was actually Phil Cornwell, who you may remember from Stella Street or, more likely, as Dave Clifton on I’m Alan Partridge. Which puts me just three degrees of separation from pretty much everyone in Hollywood. Result.

Anyway, as with so many experiences in my life, I’ve always remembered the embarrassing Brosette-yeah-bloke-dressed-as-a-gorilla part of the experience and it was only yesterday following Jenny’s tweet that I thought I loved Radio 1 and Bits & Pieces and I went to the roadshow and won Bits & Pieces. Go, 17-year-old me!

Ooh, almost forgot to choose my tune! It’s the song that was number one that day in London…

Updated: It wasn’t Steve Wright, it was Peter Powell. I was googling for more Roadshow details and found this photo. I remember that shirt.

4 thoughts on “Radio 1: a love story

  1. You bunked off school?!? You won Bits & Pieces? (I blogged a little about Bits & Pieces years ago, btw) You met Phil Cornwell? You’re like the coolest person I evah met!

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