At 6.30am this morning, Greg James became the 16th presenter of the Radio 1 Breakfast Show.
An iconic programme, with previous hosts including Chris Evans, Zoe Ball and Chris Moyles, this is no small gig.
Greg effortlessly presented his way through the show, which had little interaction from his team of producers and instead, made the listener feel like they were part of the show.
This is a genius move by Greg and is rarely well acheived in radio, in fact we can only really credit Chris Evans on Radio 2 for managing to do it well. Greg punctuated the show with moments which reinforced his mantra – the show is about the listener, not him.
This began instantly where he surrendered the accolade of choosing the first song, instead throwing it out to listeners to text in with suggestions. Not only did this make the statement, it also showed Greg is prepared to take risks.
Thankfully, listener Alex chose a fantastic tune – Avicii’s Levels.
Next, to the question of Greg’s first guest. Again, he completely played this down, again making it clear that this show is not about celebrity culture. Instead of getting an A Lister in the studio, he chose to interview a Lion, over the phone, at Blackpool zoo. This was just one element to the show which gave it a real national feel. This is not just a show for London, from London. Far from it.
In new feature, Yesterday’s News Quiz, greg invites a different bunch of mates to take part, with one of them answering the questions each day. This took us back to the days of Feet-up Fridays from afternoons, and played out nicely.
And we're off! 🚀✨
Here are @GregJames' very first words on brand new Breakfast and the all-important first song to be played on the show…
This is going to be FUN! pic.twitter.com/jwZRdieOdm
— BBC Radio 1 (@BBCR1) August 20, 2018
Our favourite feature was Game of Thrones. “I’ve got Calvin Harris’s phone number here” said Greg. But instead of him simply calling him up and getting him to promote his new single Promises, instead, he had a bank of listeners waiting to speak to him. Each listener had to guess the digit that Greg had deleted from Calvin’s number, meaning some very amusing prank calls to people who were certainly not Calvin. They managed to get hold of him in the end, and brilliantly, got him talking about vegetables.
Joe Lycett featured later, commentating as Red Arrows pilots performed a display on bikes, outside the Radio 1 studios. Again, it was funny, relatable, human and and ridiculous.
When the show ended, we genuinely went away wondering what on earth Greg would deliver on tomorrow’s show.
It is no small achievement to create three and a half hours of live radio, rammed with features and remaining engaging throughout. Whilst it’s clear there’s a lot of work going in to the show, it never once felt contrived or scripted. There was also no sense of directly targeting a young demographic, instead, this feels like an inclusive show that the whole family could enjoy together.
Greg James might just be the new saviour of Radio 1. Let’s see what tomorrow brings…