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The Nation's Favourite: The True Adventures of Radio 1 Paperback – 5 Jul 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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

Book Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I find myself re-reading this book several times a year and I've lost count of the number of copies I've given to friends.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Judging by the reviews this book received on release it was widely praised, but it has not aged well. Its chief failing is the minutiae of detail it goes into on incidents we have long since bothered about, such as the tumultuous days of Chris Evans and the subsequent catastrophe of putting Marc and Lard on the breakfast show. Indeed, perhaps in the near 20 years since it was written we have all subsequently come to care much less about the station altogether.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Dipping into this compelling book is rather like discovering a lost world. In place of the dinosaurs you'll find the equally colossal egos of the "disc jockey". In some ways this may be an uncomfortable read for those over 40, evoking as it does all sorts of queasy memories of "The Bit in the middle", "Willie on the Plonker" and "Our Tune". this was an age when the Hairy Cornflake only had to finger his beard to be invited to open yet another supermarket/hospital wing/garden fete.
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
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book begins with Bannister appointed controller then we hear about why he was brought in to oversee the change in tone of the station to a more youth orientated feel. What isn't well known is the decision to change the policy of Radio one was taken before Bannister was appointed but its always MB who seems to be the one slated for almost destroying the listening figures. As for the book itself, decent start with a few tales of departing or about to be departing DJs and Simon Bates in particular comes across as a VERY nasty individual. However once the cull of the dinosaurs ( see a BBC 2 programme Blood on the carpet for a brilliant documentary on the same subject) has taken place- and this was done too quickly the book starts to labour VERY badly. The story of the rise and fall of Evans on the network is handled reasonably well but after this story quite frankly i got really bored. Radcliffe and Reilly and Zoe Ball & the late Kevin Greening are featured heavily from the middle of the book onwards but none of these individuals are IMO interesting enough to hold the attention of the reader and i got very bored very quickly.

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
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By A Customer on 24 Dec. 1999
Format: Paperback
A simply wonderful account of how minor celebrities become corrupted by the thrill of being in your homes. Even the most minor DJ comes across as being a couple of records short of a collection.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Simon Garfield perfectly captures the ego's and personality clashes of those who have worked at Radio 1 in the last ten.
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.
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