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Marc Riley

A very bad picture
of Marc Riley

Probably best known for his time on Radio 1 where he worked extensively with Mark Radcliffe, Marc Riley has had a glamorous life.

Born in Manchester in 1961, he left school in 1978 and went onto the world's premier rock band training scheme, joining as he did with Mark E. Smith to become a member of seminal northern band, The Fall to play bass and guitar.

The Fall were a band who can do no wrong in the eyes of John Peel but who everyone else just seems to ignore. Their main influence on the daytime schedules of Radio 1 consisted of an occasion where John Peel sat in for lunchtime presenter Jackie Brambles - presumably as some kind of bet by the station management.

It was during his time in The Fall that Marc first met his future side-kick Mark Radcliffe when the band did one of their many John Peel sessions. At the time Mark was working as a session producer for the show. It's not exactly known what the pair thought of each other back then and probably never will be.

Creeping Along

In 1982 Marc was chucked out - probably due to some kind of rule about the maximum people called Mark in the band - and went on to form a new band where he could be the one doing the chucking out, and lo Marc Riley and The Creepers were formed.

Showing he knew how to spot talent then just as he does now, John Peel invited the band in for two sessions - one more again produced by Mr Mark Radcliffe proving that it's a small world.

A small amount of critical acclaim followed - as Andy Hurt said in Sounds magazine...

What's it all about Riley? Is the man a genuinely wild and wacky guy, or is Marc guilty of indulging in studied eccentricity?

Andy Hurt, Sounds magazine (via 'The Creepers' website.

Four studios albums later though and Marc disbanded the Creepers in 1987.

A young Marc Riley

Cartoon Corner

3 May 1986 saw the first edition of Oink! hit the news stands - well as a free preview edition given away with Buster. The Viz style comic for kids was published fortnightly and featured regular contributions from a one Marc Riley, but suffered from being called offensive and unsuitable for children, as well as several changes in format and after 68 issues the magazine closed.

As an aside, one of the people who founded Oink! was Patrick Gallagher who later on went on to fame and fortune as Patrick the Studio Audience when Mark and Lard did the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Patrick remained as a writer on the Radio 1 shows until they ended in 2004.

Back to the music

Comics aside, Marc started working as a plugger for Factory Records and later 4AD and it was doing this job that he ended up on air.

In 1990 Radio 5's Hit The North hit the airwaves. A Wednesday night music show broadcast from Manchester, it was a natural target for a record plugger, and as such Marc spent much time trying to persuade a certain Mark Radcliffe - presenter of the programme.

After a certain amount of harassment and threats of a restraining order, Marc was given a gossip column on the show, although as he never had any gossip, the pair would just take the mick out of each other during the records. Marc later became the show producer as well as presenting another show on the station.

The programme soon grew a cult following and even got nominated for a Sony Award, and a radio double act was formed. Amongst the bands who appeared doing sessions on the show were a small band doing their very first radio session. Their name? Oasis.

Marc Riley with goatie

To Radio 1 and beyond!

As well as presenting on Radio 5, Mark Radcliffe had also appeared on Radio 1 presenting a number of different shows, and in 1993 was given Nicky Campbell's old time slot. Although hotly tipped to take over from Simon Bates, Nicky decided to leave the station for personal reasons (although he did return in January 1994) leaving his nighttime show vacent.

The Graveyard Shift was formed and again picked up a cult following, critical acclaim and the chance to fill in for Chris Evans on the Radio 1 breakfast show. Marc also grew a goatee and then got rid of it.

When Chris Evans walked out of the station in 1997, the duo were parachuted in - although the show didn't work out, their afternoon show did and kept the duo firmly in the limelight.

Time for something new

However it couldn't last for ever. For over 10 years on Radio One, and more before that, the roles had been defined. In 2004 the pair decided it was time for something different and on 3 April, Marc moved to BBC 6music to present his first solo show for many years.

The first show featured a rather nervous sounding Marc - apologising at one point as he proclaimed that after years of being all sorts of characters under the sun, he was having to find his own voice.

It didn't take long - the second show sounded more confident, and from there it just kept getting better and better. In next to no time, the voice had been found. In fact it went so well, that on 3 October 2004, Marc gained a second show on the station, called Mint, and a Sony Silver award for Music Radio Personality of the Year in 2006 to boot.

Rocket Science didn't last forever - the last edition was two and a half years after the first and was broadcast in August 2006. However its departure was for good reason. At the beginning of 6 September, Marc gained a new show weekday evening show called Brain Surgery in its place.

Incidently in case you're wondering... despite being called Lard, Marc was always the skinner one.

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