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Mark Radcliffe, aka Scrawn

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Mark Radcliffe aka The Boy Scrawn was born in 19858, in Bolton, Lancashire.

Mark Radcliffe
in his duffel coat

His early life consisted of being young and generally being a kid in the town of Lancashire, spending much time riding around on the buses of SELNEC and Lancashire United, pretending to be cool. When asked about it now, he declares that he likes to think that even then he was taking the piss. Most would just declare the whole incident rather sad.

Despite these humble beginnings, he has managed, somehow, to make it to national prominence as sidekick to the BBC Radio One afternoon show host, Marc Riley.

Starting In Radio

Scrawn's entry into radio started in Manchester on the local radio station, Piccalilli Radio where he was involved with such delights as plays and some classical music output. He later moved to Radio One, producing live sessions for John Peel and live gigs.

It was while working on the John Peel program that he met his future cohort, Marc Riley who was doing a session with top pop band, The Fall. The two never thought much about it and went their separate ways.

Somehow Scrawn managed to land the 'plum' job of Head of Programs at Piccalilli and it was here that his entrance into radio broadcasting was made. He would present a number of shows a week, often with the king of the Papier Mache head people, Frank Sidebottom.

Indeed it was here that the popular chat show presenter Mrs Merton first made her appearance when it was revealed to an unsuspecting audience (well they probably didn't give a toss actually...) that she lived next door to Timperly's favourite son (that's Frank for the stupid of you.)

It was also here that Scrawn met such stars as Timmy Mallet. He was also the boss of a rather young Chris Evans (cue 'amusing' anecdote) who Scrawn saved from the sack when Evans accidentally erased an exclusive interview with rock star Bob Geldof (he of Live/Band Aid and the Boom Town Rats fame.)

In 1987, Scrawn returned to the BBC to produce popular music programs. Shortly after, the head honcho of Radio One, Johny Beergut, offered Marc Riley a job on the station, and seeing that he had a rather useless tosser of pots on his staff, ordered Riley to train Scrawn with the hope of making him a master of broadcasting, or at least sound competent. Riley enjoyed a challenge and took on Scrawn on the Radio One show Out On Blue Six and a show on the old BBC Radio Five called Hit The North.

Early Days At Radio One

Somehow Scrawn managed to go solo and spent a week filling in on the popular new music show, The Evening Session, then hosted by Mark Goodier. It was a show to which Scrawn was never to return. Those who heard it will know why.

Mark Radcliffe
sitting on a step

It was obvious to all that it would take a lot to make Scrawn a competent broadcaster. His future looked bleak as he insisted on being known only as 'The Man In The Duffel Coat', where he would only allow himself to be interviewed with his duffel coat over his head and a pair of shades on, in a desperate attempt to be hip and happening.

A few years later, most thought Scrawn had recovered and he was offered the chance to present his own show called The Guest List which was to be an arts program.

It was obscure owing to the fact that a fair chuck of it was items about art in public lavatories, and when Riley was offered the chance to present the Graveyard Shift, Scrawn gave up the Guest List, handing over the reigns to Radio One's movie expert Mark Kermode.

Kermode, on the shows final demise, went on to take over the Antiques Record Roadshow from Andy Kershaw which also got axed shortly after. His latest venture, Cling Film saw two fellow presenters leave in its short time on air... Cling Film lasted longer than most shows hosted by Kermode, but was finally given the chop on February 11th 1997. Indeed every show Mark Kermode has ever presented, has been axed. Amazing eh?

For some time Scrawn stayed loyal to Riley on the Graveyard shift and recovered from his duffel coat addiction. Shortly after he was invited to present a Channel 4 music program called The White Room (which didn't need Mark Kermode to get axed) and also helped to present Channel Four's Glastonbury coverage in 1994 (with Riley) and in 1995 (without Riley which could explain the abysmal ratings that year and why the BBC took over the coverage from then.

Indeed his only success in television came on a regional program for Granada Television called Mark Radcliffe's NWA which was quite successful (although not good enough to warrent hiring Scrawn for the second series.) Lately though he has stuck to doing what he can do best, i.e. being Riley's sidekick.

Up The Ladder

In January 1997 Chris Evans (who had by this time managed to work his way up the broadcasting ladder) left the Radio One Breakfast Show and it was later announced that Riley would be moving to Breakfast from February 17th, the condition being that he took Scrawn.

Scrawn helped entertain the nation with his regular comments of "Cod Fish Battered Balls" and his farty noises. His endeavours included standing at windows looking for people in halter necks in Music To Watch Girls Go By, and Pixie Dancing with the Breakfast Show studio audience, Patrick.

Mark Radcliffe with sunglasses on

Patrick soon left to work on a cruise liner and soon after the decision was made to move Riley off to afternoons, where Scrawn has settled in very well.

He may not be much to hear but he's cheap and that's probably the only reason Radio One keep him on. Some people seem to believe that he is the true talent behind the Riley/Radcliffe tea,. Most have ears and can see that he's just some tosspot in a studio doing farty noises and uttering the immortal words "Fancy a brew?" When they'll actually turn off is another matter.

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