DJs celebrate 50 years of Radio 1 and 2

Image caption Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw and Radio 2’s Tony Blackburn hosted the 90-minute joint show

DJs from BBC Radio 1 and 2 have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the launch of the two stations with a joint broadcast.

Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw and Radio 2’s Tony Blackburn hosted the special 90-minute joint show, which featured music from the last 50 years.

Ex-breakfast show hosts Sara Cox, Simon Mayo and Mike Read were special guests.

Radio 1 has launched a “pop-up” vintage station to feature 50 one-hour themed shows over the next three days.

It will feature archive material from DJs across its history.

Appearing on Saturday morning’s celebratory breakfast show, Sara Cox – a current Radio 2 DJ who hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show for three years from 2000 – described her nerves ahead of her first broadcast.

She said she surprised listeners by taking over the show three days early, on a Friday morning instead of Monday.

“I played Robbie Williams Let Me Entertain You and it went by in a blur,” she said.

“You always want to get the first show out of the way but it is a big job, a big responsibility.”

She said: “It was a rollercoaster few years, it was full-on and it was exciting and it was just one of the best and biggest times of my life.”

Image caption Simon Mayo – who hosted the breakfast show from 1988 to 1993 – spoke about past interviews

Veteran broadcaster Mike Read, who hosted the breakfast show for five years from January 1981, spoke about the former BBC Radio 1 roadshows.

He told how he once played Wham! classic Club Tropicana with three kazoos on stage at a roadshow in St Ives, Cornwall, alongside George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

“We had such a great time that we said ‘lets stay for the whole weekend’,” he added.

“It wasn’t exactly George’s kind of weekend so he flew back the following day, but Andrew and myself stayed on and had a crazy time, gatecrashed a few parties and had enormous fun.”

He added: “The roadshows were fantastic. I want to go back and do those all over again.”

Red telephone

Tony Blackburn, who hosted Radio 1’s first ever show, spoke about interviewing The Beatles and Rolling Stones and also of touring with Diana Ross and The Supremes.

“That was the big moment for me. I was standing on the side of the stage and listening to her and watching her. It was fantastic, because I love Diana Ross.

Blackburn also described hanging up on Frank Sinatra, who had the same agent as him.

He described how a red telephone, usually reserved for Radio 1 bosses to call the studio, started ringing one day.

“I picked up the phone and said ‘who’s that’ and he said ‘Frank’.

“I said ‘Frank who?’ He said ‘Frank Sinatra’ and I said ‘oh very funny’ and put the phone down.

“I thought it was Pete Murray, one of the DJs at the time. He always used to send us up a little bit and do these things – but it was actually Frank Sinatra.”

Meanwhile, Simon Mayo – who hosted the breakfast show from 1988 to 1993 – spoke about his interviews with Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Mick Jagger.

“Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were part of Radio 1 in the 90s as well. Even then you are dealing with a guy who has been responsible for 30 years of hits.”

The show heard archive footage of Jagger appearing on Mayo’s “God of the week” section of his show.

New-look stations Radio 1 and 2 were launched on 30 September 1967, from what had previously been the BBC’s Light Programme.

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