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The Shows: Radio 1 Afternoons

Radio 1 logo from 2001

Presented By
Mark Radcliffe
Marc Riley
Radio Station
BBC Radio 1
Weekdays 2-4pm (until Feb 2001)
Weekdays 1-3pm (from Feb 2001)
On air
13 October 1997 to 26 March 2004

Prior to the Breakfast Show, the pair had been pretty low-profile but eight months on the morning changed all that - although it probably wasn't a very good image the pair had left in many peoples ears.

By the end of 2004, that was a reputation that had been dramatically reversed.

From Failure, to beyond!

Even though the pressure of breakfasts had gone, there was still a certain amount to live up to in the afternoons - but whilst scheduling Mark and Lard at breakfast had proved to be completely wrong, it quickly became clear that the mid-afternoon slot was completely right.

Under previous occupant, Nicky Campbell, the ratings were already extremely good and in normal circumstances, a new incumbent would take over and find a dip in the ratings whilst old listeners left and new ones came on board. Amazingly this didn't happen - the duo took the show to even higher ratings straight away.

Within a year the show had overtaken The UK Top 40 in having the highest reach of any radio show - in essence, having a greater percentage of the available radio audience. It was one amazing achievement, although one rarely promoted by the management.

The format didn't hugely change from breakfast - silly competitions, daft sketches and ridiculing of the playlist, but it all seemed to work far better and won the duo a couple more Sony awards to join the large number of listeners!

But as the years went by, the duo were increasingly becoming out of place at the station - their indie credentials fitted in less and less with the sound of the station which was tilting more to dance and r'n'b, with lashings of celeb-based gossip.

The digs at the playlist started pretty quickly, and although initially stamped upon, they gradually increased again. The duo and their listeners tended to be of one mind in that respect, but the aging listenership of the show meant the pair would be chopped from Radio 1 sooner or later.

Throughout 2003 the rumour mill had been pretty extensive on that part, fueled by comments about that the pair were 'still here for the time being'. Radio 2 seemed to be the rumoured destination of choice.

However the rumour mill got it very wrong and the news on 19 February 2004 was completely unexpected.

It was Broadcast magazine that printed it first and in a rush, the BBC Press Office confirmed news that had not been intended to be announced until the schedule launch a few weeks later. Mark and Lard had decided to go their separate days - Mark to Radio 2 and Marc to 6music.

Controller of Radio 2 and 6music Lesley Douglas confirmed she'd been talking to the pair for months - no doubt a substantial amount of that was trying to keep the pair together - after all, who would want to split up an award winning and much loved double act. But after 14 years of working together the pair decided to do something different and that's how it was to be.

The End

The final show was broadcast on 26 March 2004. Preceded by a sung tribute of the Stereophonic's 'Have A Nice Day', as made even worse by a chorus of Radio 1 DJs, the show opened with a tribute from the legend that is David Bowie.

The show was left completely un-playlisted, and featured tribute after tribute from the world of rock and pop, including a specially recorded song from Travis.

It all ended about 8 minutes after 3pm. The last song was Kiss's Crazy Nights - about as far away from Radio 1's target audience as you could get. And after one last half a catchphrase (Stop...) it all faded to silence...

After years of their Stop! <pause> Carry on catchphrase, the emergency music finally kicked in thanks to the control room in London accidently not switching from Manchester to London in time.

Accident? Or perhaps one last tribute to the pair? We'll probably never know...

What's in a name?

Originally known as 'High Tea and Tosspots', the tagline for the afternoon show was quietly dropped soon after the show launched, becoming the plain old Mark Radcliffe Show.

As well as the short lived High Tea and Tosspots name, during 2002/2003 the presenters used 'The Dream Team' tag during their show - taking off Radio 1 signings, The Dreem Team who had arrived at the station to present a Sunday morning show.

During 2003 it became 'The Biggest Show' was first used as a joke, but which stuck around to the end of the shows time on air - and was rather appropriate.

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