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Scott Mills is the reason I fell in love with Radio 1 – just don’t tell him I said that

There was no better person to have had as a mentor than Scott and I’ll be forever grateful for his support when I started

August 16, 2022 4:08 pm(Updated 4:09 pm)

Scott Mills and Chris Stark are leaving Radio 1 next week and I’m sad about it. Scott is bound for Steve Wright’s old slot on Radio 2 and Chris is off to a radio station called “Capital FM”, which I’ve never heard of.

I love them both very much and I’ll miss them a lot. It’s a strange feeling when great friends leave a place like Radio 1. The amount you miss them is doubled. You lose a mate that you see every day and can chat to about the day-to-day madnesses that occur in any workplace, but you also lose them as part of your listening routine.

I have always been and will always be a Radio 1 fan and I’ll feel the same sadness that the rest of the listeners will feel when Scott and Chris do their final shows next week. Of course, I’ll still tune in to hear Scott on Radio 2 and I’ll try my best to find out how to get “Capital FM” (is it an internet station?) but this is, to use a cliche, truly the end of an era.

Or as Pam St Clement aka Pat Butcher stated on the front cover of her autobiography, “The End of an Earring”. Scott and I found out she’d called her autobiography this while we were on the radio together and his mischievous cackle still rings around my head every time I think about it.

Us three have shared some incredible moments together on air over the last decade or so and they will always be some of my favourite moments at Radio 1 ever. As no famous philosopher has ever said, “if you can laugh until you cry at work, you’ve lucked out” – and we’ve spent hours on air together just laughing. I feel so grateful for that.

He hates it when I remind him of this, but I’ve been a Scott Mills fan since I was 15. He is the reason I fell in love with Radio 1. I stumbled across his early breakfast show before school and was instantly hooked. He was silly, he was naughty, he got away with being rude because he was so likeable and was always on the side of the listeners. And of course, he was funny. I loved it.

I hated when the breakfast show started because I wanted MORE MILLS. And in 2004, I got my wish when he took over drivetime. I’d never been more proud of someone I hadn’t met before. I used to listen to every single minute of his shows. Marvelling at how it was all put together, how brilliantly funny all the callers were, how there was always a punchline and a brand new inventive game every day. It was an extraordinary time.

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Chris Moyles was being Chris Moyles on the breakfast show but the real joy was later in the day. There was nothing else like it on the radio. For me, Scott Mills defines modern day Radio 1 and not just because he’s been there for 24 years!

His shows have always been about the listeners and their lives (mine included), it’s always been inclusive, always been silly and creative and the joke was always on him or his team, not us listening. Pop stars and movie stars were given just enough respect, but there was never fawning. Everyone’s equal in the court of Scott Mills and that means no one was above being on the receiving end of a devastating one-liner or taking part in a stupid game.

When I started at Radio 1 in 2007 on the early breakfast show (yes, you can imagine how excited I was to do “the Scott Mills slot”), I was accused by one reviewer of sounding like him and copying his style. They were right. What a compliment! I was 21 and all I knew was the Radio 1 style that he had created and made his own.

I eventually found my own voice, largely with the help and support of Scott, who is one of the loveliest and most generous people I’ve ever met. There was no better person to have had as a mentor than him and I’ll be forever grateful for his support when I started. Without him, the Radio 1 you’ve been hearing over the last 20 years or so wouldn’t have existed.

I wouldn’t exist without Scott Mills. He made me want to be on Radio 1 and he paved the way for so many of us. I only know how important it is to make the listeners feel welcome because he made me feel welcome when I woke up early to listen before the bus to school.

I will continue to fly the Scott Mills flag of nonsense on Radio 1 until the axe falls – and as long as this “Capital FM” place allows fun, I imagine Chris Stark will too.

Greg James presents BBC Radio 1’s breakfast show


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