- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 July 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571197353
- ISBN-13: 978-0571197354
- Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 2.7 x 17.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1 Paperback – 5 Jul 1999
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At first glance, a year in the life of a radio station seems a curiously insubstantial topic for a full-length book. But Simon Garfield was fortunate that the 12 months he spent as a fly on the wall of Radio 1 were among the most eventful in the station's 30-year history. To put the ensuing revolution in context, it is important to remember that for many years Radio 1 had been the country's only national pop network, and as such, its stranglehold on the nation's pop tastes was unquestioned. Garfield's arrival coincided with a change of direction: under controller Mathew Bannister, the network was determined to ditch its middle-aged image.
The general impression of Radio 1 at the time was summed up by comedian Harry Enfield's archetypal babbling DJ, with the music always coming a distant second to the egos: "Tuesday's the only between Monday and Wednesday-type day we've got, mate. It may not have the glamour and excitement of a Saturday, or the mournfulness of a Monday morn, but it's our Tuesday, the good, old-fashioned, honest to goodness, down to earth, great British Tuesday, and if those Eurocrats, Bureaucrats and other Bonkerscats try and take our Tuesday away from us, they'll have go get past me first!"
In the end it was Chris Evans who single-handedly gave Radio 1 some credibility--and probably prevented it being privatised; and Garfield's chronicle of Evans' rise and fall is riveting--a first-hand account of truly Machiavellian court politics. --Patrick Humphries
The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1 by Simon Garfield is a touching, exciting and often hilarious portrait of BBC Radio One in its time of turmoil, a national institution battling back from the brink of calamity.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Insightful, well-written and very amusing.
If you think that Smashey and Nicey ARE the best characters Enfield and Whitehouse ever wrote then this is certainly the book for you.
Great interviews about the rise of Radio One, the era of the 'personality DJ' (I honestly used to listen to DLT every Saturday morning and LOVE 'snooker on the radio') the rebirth of the station in the early 1990's, the Chris Evans period - it's a great read, even if you have no interest in Radio One.
Its other failing is that, while it attempts to give balance by airing the version of events given by the old dinosaur DJs DLT and Simon Bates, the author is clearly biased against them in the way the information is rather snidely presented.
Both clearly had to go and should have left a full decade beforehand, but the fact that both are still gainfully employed shows they deserved more respect. Garfield has decided long before the reader gets to decide that both DJs were useless. I would have preferred more facts than bar room talk on this.
Another failing, which is not the author's fault, is that Matthew Bannister and Trevor Dann are just not as interesting as the DJs. They are essentially back room managers, who do not talk in interesting sound bites.
For those two young to remember the bloodletting at Radio 1 this is a valuable work of history ( they won't believe that the current Radio 1 was actually once this cosy, safe institution which had the playing of Status Quo and Cliff Richard ( who were they?)5 times daily as an article of faith.
Only the late John Peel ( and perhaps Nicky Campbell) emerge with any credit and this gem of a book also gives some insight into the survivalist instincts of Steve -when you read out a listener's e-mail always prefix it with "Love the show Steve"- Wright, Cull evader extraordinaire.
Sure to raise at least a wry smile in people of most ages. Enjoy it
I would have preferred the books story to have gone from say 91-97 when it was first decided to make the changes. More storiea about departing DJs and maybe ending when Evans quit the breakfast show. One final point the type set was difficult to read and it was hard to read more than about 30 pages at a time with the type so small and normally my eyes are fine when reading a book but got quite sore reading this
The continual abuse of Bates and DLT does become a bit tedious but there is normally another hysterical story about their ego's just around the corner.
It's even got a soppy bit, as Mark and Lard recount how they were shafted over the Breakfast show, however one has to congratulate all the people involved for being willing to show their foibles and DEEP flaws for everyone to look at.
He interviews in depth all those involved at the station and paints a dramatic picture of the tantrums and sackings.
With the exception of John Peel & Jo Whiley, each DJ seemed hell bent on appearing as arrogant or as stupid as possible and this makes for entertaining reading.
What Garfield seems to neglect, is that Radio 1 is still not cutting-edge in the music or DJ department. Yes, there are no longer the Smashee and Nicey's of old but their music policy, obsession with the play-list and 'comic' DJ's are certainly not 'in touch'.
He charts the upheaval of the old guard by Mathew Banister's and their replacement and suggests that Radio 1 is no longer populist or concerned with ratings. This is untrue. When Radio 1 were heralding Britpop, young Britons were heading for Ibiza and the dance clubs. Now Radio 1 is on the bandwagon (4 years late), the so-called 'youth' of Britain are looking elsewhere for their music.
What Garfield best demonstrates is the stupidity of the BBC and their obsession with management consultants. This coupled with the arrogance of those DJ's who think they are at the top of the radio ladder, make for compelling reading.
If you want to know how un-professional the media industry is in Britian, read on.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just so bitchy,when the disc jockeys thought that the music was secondary to their inflated egos !Published 19 months ago by Mr. J. C. Murray
For anyone who remembers Radio One during the 80s and always had a sneaking suspicion that a lot of the station's big names were obnoxious egomaniacs, this book will absolutely... Read morePublished on 10 Dec. 2013 by Joanne Sheppard
Gives quite an interesting insight into the behind the scenes wranglings at the BBC. Having worked there for years, I can empathise with a lot of the goings on. Read morePublished on 18 May 2013 by M. D. Souter
While there can be no denying that this is a comprehensive account of behind the scenes shennanigans at R1,
it is ultimately tedious because one is not over familiar with, or... Read more
Tantrums! Tears! The story of gargantuan egos being exploded and crashing in flames! How new controller Matthew Bannister culled the Big Beasts of Radio 1 and set the station on... Read morePublished on 6 July 2011 by Red not Dead
A highly entertaining minute by minute account of one of the most turbulent periods of our No.1 stations history for any young folk out there who listens to Radio 1 and didn't know... Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2010 by M. L. Richings
I wanted an insight into how a top radio station runs but I wasn't expecting it to be so entertaining.
The book is a series of quotes from the people involved. Read more
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