Enough of these boys' egos
Bolshie DJs should remember: Radio Berkshire awaits
Interesting times at Radio 1. Its controller, Andy Parfitt, is to appoint a head of editorial standards - a response, at least in part, to the station's recent infringements of the broadcasting code. The best-known culprit of such infringements is Chris Moyles: over the summer, Ofcom upheld listener complaints about swearing and content in his breakfast show, and warned that regulatory action will be possible, should he overstep the mark again.
Moyles's offences included getting into a bizarre debate on the hot subject of women who pee in the shower - he concluded that those who do are "dirty whores" - and his use of the word "gay" as a synonym for "rubbish". But Scott Mills, who presents the drive-time show, has also been censured - for a prank in which he called a listener and suggested that her son had misbehaved at school.
The person who wins this job has my sympathy: a stressful time surely lies ahead. Jo Whiley and Edith Bowman might be good girls with good manners, but Moyles is pretty much uncontrollable. This is not only because he is so gobby, but because his ratings are so high (in London, he beats Capital, Heart and Magic, hands down). His success makes him largely untouchable - and he knows it. Who would want to be his nanny-in-chief? Not me. I once tried to interview him, and it was like wrestling with a lump of rather belligerent lard. Mills is far more restrained than Moyles; even so, I doubt very much that his star status has escaped his notice. He is good - very natural and funny - but certainly not unfamiliar with the concept of self-love.
Ego is, and always has been, a huge problem at Radio 1, which relies so much on personality to do its work. Colin Murray has recently taken over what used to be John Peel's slot at the station. You might think that the hallowed seat in which he is now perched would encourage modesty, but his manner is unbearably self-satisfied. The man adores himself.
He explained his move to the late shift in an astonishingly pompous piece in the Guardian. The drift of it was that he is far too intelligent for daytime radio (even though, until now, he has seemed perfectly happy to be working in it) - and, to prove it, he informed us that he is reading DC Confidential by Christopher Meyer, the former British ambassador to Washington. Gosh, aren't you clever, Colin.
One possible head-shrinking technique might be to remind these boys of where old DJs go to die - and how premature their deaths often are, metaphorically speaking. The head of editorial standards should log them on to www. radiorewind.co.uk, an unofficial history of Radio 1 "when it was a proper national music station". I love it, perhaps because I'm getting too old for Radio 1 in its current incarnation (is it me, or do The Feeling sound just like Supertramp?), and I can happily while away hours listening to its clips of Gervais the Hairdresser, who used to camp it up on Steve Wright's old afternoon show. But the site also includes biographies of former Radio 1 stars. They make for mournful reading. According to Radio Rewind, Richard Skinner is now berthed at Radio Berkshire; Dave Lee Travis at Magic AM in Newcastle; and Gary Davies - Gary Davies! - at Yorkshire's Real Radio. I think there's a lesson for us all in there, somewhere.
Pick of the week
Archive Hour: the Wapping revolution
7 October, 8pm, Radio 4
Andrew Neil reflects on 1986, when he took the Sunday Times from Fleet Street to Wapping.
The Hollow Men
From 10 October, 11pm, Radio 4
Possibly brilliant new sketch show. Well, they were funny when I saw them in Edinburgh.
Don’t miss . . .
David Hockney Portraits
Hockney has finally turned his back on the sun-drenched swimming pools of LA, marking the transition with "A Year in Yorkshire", an exhibition of British landscapes. However, it is this show at the National Portrait Gallery in London that offers powerful insights into his life, loves and friends. Pieces spanning five decades include intensely personal portraits of his lover Peter Schlesinger as well as cultural figures such as the fashion designers Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark (pictured right, detail).
"David Hockney Portraits: life, love, art", 12 October to 21 January 2007, National Portrait Gallery, London WC2. www.npg.org.uk