Debbie does Moyles

My regular newspaper is the Independent and I always enjoy reading the Deborah Ross interview in the Saturday magazine. Yesterday’s feature was an interview with Chris Moyles, who as you’ll know from previous postings, isn’t my favourite radio personality. But I was intrigued to find out how DR viewed him – she writes as she finds but always allows her subjects the opportunity to have their say about themselves. Often their own words are the most telling. The first headlined quote from him, for example, was ‘there are people who think I’m rude and nasty, but I don’t think I am’. It kind of set the tone for the piece.

The feature was titled Mr Big and DR generously covered the fact that since taking over the breakfast show in 2002 Moyles has increased its audience by more than 1.75m listeners to (as I and others have been personally informed) over 8m. It’s an achievement no doubt but she also adds that he refers himself as a ‘genius’, ‘a f**king brilliant broadcaster’ and, of course, ‘the saviour of Radio 1’. She also talks about his head which is ‘like a hairy baked potato’. I think we get the other meaning to Big – he does come across as conceited and vain. He was concerned that the pictures of him were making him look gormless rather than ‘moodily thoughtful’. Oh how we’ve changed since the days when you first joined Radio 1 with this mug shot:


He confessed that if it was up to him he wouldn’t do interviews. This one, Deborah said, was variously on/off and CM had finally agreed to do it only if the PR from Radio 1 could be present. Deborah quietly wondered if he was a ‘ninny’ but let the reader decide the answer, for now. She also suggested to Moyles that maybe the reason he had finally agreed to do it was because he had a book to plug. No he proclaimed, ‘It’s actually about people reading this and thinking: he’s all right (so that) they then listen to the show and like it’. Yeh right. DR talks about his prickly sensitivity and this need to be liked and couldn’t help but conclude that he was a big ninny after all. I think I’m nearer to the mark with prickly. We did learn from CM that his first book ‘did phenomenally well. It sold 400,000. I’m a best-sellling author’. He’s reassured by those Big numbers isn’t he?

There’s not much more of interest in the interview to be honest. He loves his mum and dad, he reveres Jonathan Ross and Terry Wogan for the longevity of their popularity though he seems faintly dismissive of Chris Evans who had his moment in the sun. Strange, I thought CE was still winning Sony Awards for his Radio 2 show but he seems a graceless colleague to me (perhaps he only looks up to colleagues above him in the BBC pay hierarchy – according to recent reports). Also he doesn’t enjoy the fame when he and his girlfriend are ‘distracted’ when shopping in Morrisons but otherwise it’s OK apparently. Oh good.

Deborah concludes it with a gift to him to complete a running theme about fragrances and scents. I didn’t quite get that bit – I preferred her intro talking about the fact that she listens to Moyles with her teenage son who really finds him a funny guy. DR admits CM really makes her laugh too. That again is refreshingly honest. For me, I can understand that – he is quick-witted and amusing in that rugged northern way. It’s a style of humour I recognise from my upbringing, especially working in factories and building-sites during vacations. But Bernard Manning could make me laugh at times and Jim Davidson. But it doesn’t mean to say that I find them or their humour to be attractive.

As to the book, DR mentioned there are whole chapters no less on how difficult it was for him to write it. It can’t be just me because she too reckoned a second book was stretching it a bit. A good job he didn’t do the interview to promote it then eh!



2 thoughts on “Debbie does Moyles

  1. Hey Paulie,

    Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Deborah Ross. I buy the Independent on Mondays and her interview used to be the cover story of their features section (this was back in the broadsheet days).

    I’m in Ireland so it on Mondays and the Guardian on Fridays were my too English picks for the week. I loved the way she masked her devilishness in sweet-smelling fragrance, so I’ll pick up the Independent next weekend and get back on the DR trail…

  2. hi s

    i think she’s a great columnist. she gently teases from her subjects just enough evidence to show their true inner selves. I thought it was great that the M interview was set up to promote his book but, even though she kinda likes bits of him, enough of the other stuff came out to make her damn it with faint praise. Mission unaccomplished then Mr Big.

    Well it made me smile

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