Surprise replacement as Chris Moyles quits Radio 1 breakfast show

NICK Grimshaw has been handed the flagship Radio 1 breakfast show after Leeds DJ Chris Moyles announced on air today that he was bowing out.

Wednesday, 11th July 2012, 10:24 am

Grimshaw - who currently presents five night-time shows each week for the station - will take over in September.

Moyles, the longest-serving breakfast host in the station’s 45-year history, shocked listeners with his departure but told them: “I’ve had the best time of my life.”

Grimshaw, 27, has been with the station for five years and said he was “super excited” to be given the new role.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The presenter - known to listeners as “Grimmy” - said: “It’s been a dream of mine since the age of 11 and, to be honest, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

“I love Chris and have always looked up to him as one of the best broadcasters ever.”

Moyles, 38, announced he was leaving during today’s show and is talking with Radio 1 bosses about a new programme.

He had been due to take a break to appear in a touring version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

The self-styled “saviour of Radio 1” has hosted the breakfast show since January 2004.

The choice of Grimshaw will surprise many who had expected the role to go to fellow presenter Greg James, who hosts the drivetime show.

He landed a regular show four years ago, hosting the weekend morning programme.

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper said: “Nick is a great broadcaster with a passion for music and a mischievous sense of humour, which has made him a hit with our listeners.

“He will be an excellent host for Radio 1’s new breakfast show, bringing a new generation of listeners with him.”

Outgoing presenter Moyles is talking with bosses about a new programme for Radio 1 with which he is contracted until the end of next year.

He was already due to take a break to appear as Herod in a touring version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

Moyles told listeners he wanted them to hear it from him rather than reading it in newspapers or on Twitter that he was leaving his “dream job”.

“We’re going to leave the breakfast show. I just want to give you a heads-up and tell you that we’re going to wrap it up,” he said.

The motormouth presenter has been with the station for 15 years, and fronted the drivetime show before stepping up to the flagship morning programme.

Cooper paid tribute to him, saying: “Quite simply, he has been the most successful breakfast show host in Radio 1’s history.

“For the past eight and a half years he has been entertaining millions of listeners every morning, which is testament to his incredible talent as a broadcaster.”

At 38, Moyles was way outside the target age range of the station, which is aimed at 15 to 29-year-olds.

A recent report by the BBC Trust found that the station was still failing to win younger listeners, with much of the audience over 30.

Moyles - who has an audience of 7.1 million - famously launched a long rant on air two years ago, complaining that he had not been paid.

Then-Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt said after the incident that he had spoken to Moyles but he had not been reprimanded because he had not “crossed the line”.

Radio 2 breakfast presenter Chris Evans said shortly afterwards that Moyles had “lost perspective” and should leave.

There had been suggestions that Moyles had sounded out commercial rivals following the incident but he went on to sign a new deal with Radio 1 last year which ties him to the station until the start of 2014.

During his tenure on the show he set a new record for the longest radio broadcast.

The 52-hour show - co-hosted with sidekick “comedy” Dave Vitty - raised £2.4 million for Comic Relief.

Moyles took over the mantle as the station’s longest-serving breakfast DJ in 2009, succeeding Tony Blackburn, the first breakfast host at the station’s launch in 1967.

Prior to Moyles’s tenure, Sara Cox had presented the breakfast slot.

Before his announcement today, Moyles told listeners: “Cue the sad music.

“A couple more months of us and then it’s someone else’s turn to have a go, so thanks for listening and I hope you stay with us until the end because I promise it’s going to be brilliant.”