Born 1966 in Warrington, Chris Evans' former jobs included running his local newsagents, his own Kiss-o-gram and Private Detective agencies. He started his broadcasting career at Piccadilly Radio, and later GLR with his Saturday show Round at Chris Evans.
From April 1992, Chris was first heard on Radio 1 presenting Too Much Gravy; a fun Sunday afternoon show slotted just before the Top 40 show, which ran for six months until September.
That was when Chris became host of The Big Breakfast, Channel 4's new early morning programme, having built his reputation as a witty prankster on the BBC London radio station GLR with 'Round at Chris Evans'.
The Big Breakfast was a hit in it's early days, beating even ITV's new breakfast station, GMTV, when it launched in 1993. Evans's hyperactive and cheeky personality defined the show catapulting him from London cult personality to a national celebrity.
Later he launched his own production outfit, Ginger Productions, responsible for his first prime-time TV show, the Channel 4 quiz Don't Forget Your Toothbrush. The format was sold around the world, bringing in funds to help him build up his media empire.
He left the Big Breakfast in 1994, and in April 1995 was recruited by Radio 1 to present the breakfast show after Steve Wright’s dramatic departure. Playing Peters & Lee "welcome home" on his first show, Chris initially signed an 8-month contract reported to be 1 million pounds.
His show with a 'zoo' style format included features such as Ginger Loans, The Hair Bair Bunch (Jamie and Justin), On The Bog, Charlie Chuckle, Honk Your Horn, forcing Dan to marry Lisa, Stick Your Tongue In and The Biggest Travel On The Radio. He was often in hot water with Radio 1 Management for straying from the Radio 1 playlist.
By October 1996 Chris had increased listeners to the show by 1 million to 7m per week, when he labelled Matthew Bannister on-air as a ‘Fat Controller’.
Chris Evans's tenure at Radio 1 was certainly not without controversy; in July 1996 he Made inappropriate comments about Anne Franks diary; Radio 1 ‘deeply regretted the offence’. Chris Evans received 2 warnings for his adult on-air jokes. In a survey conducted in 1996, 52% said that the presenter was 'too smug and self-interested' whilst 17% said his Breakfast Show was 'too smutty'.
He played a large part in dramatically changing the style of Radio 1, which was in the process of being redefined.
Evans was sacked by Radio 1 in January 1997, after his demands to work a four-day week were refused by ‘axeman’ Matthew Bannister. He was replaced by 'Mark & Lard' (Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley).
Ironically he left the breakfast show to present with the same group on rival Virgin Radio. His Ginger Media Group went on to purchase Virgin in late 1997 for £85 Million. Virgin Radio was later sold to the Scottish Media Group for £225 Million in March 2000. Chris Evans was fired from Virgin in 2001 after failing to turn up 5 days in a row.
Chris Evans tried his hand at TV producing, albeit unsuccessfully. His shows included Boys and Girls, Live! and the Terry and Gaby Show. In 2001 he Married former pop star Billie Piper, who in 2003 starred in a BBC1 drama 'The Miller's Tale'. Sadly they split late 2003. Billie went on to co-star in the popular Dr. Who series on BBC TV.
Surprisingly, Chris was heard again on BBC Radio in 2005, commencing with a Good Friday lunchtime slot on Radio 2. He presented a similar slot on the following UK Bank Holidays.
Despite much listener criticism, on April 18th 2006 Chris took over the Radio 2 drivetime slot from Johnnie Walker. This was his first daily radio show since being sacked from Virgin Radio in 2001.
Chris and his Radio 1 breakfast crew
relax on the beach drinking.