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Matthew Bannister




Matthew Bannister was Station Controller from September 1993. Born in Sheffield 1958,  Matthew studied law, but decided on a theatrical career. He worked as a reporter at Radio Nottingham in 1978, then Capital, aged 22. He joined Radio 1 as a Newsbeat presenter in 1983. Matthew became manager of BBC Radio London (later GLR) from 1988 until 1991. Following major changes there, the station lost a 33% audience share. After a stint as a bureaucrat, writing strategy papers for Sir John Birt, in 1993 he was appointed Radio 1 controller.


Matthew (L) with Kevin Greening, Zoe Ball and the Daily Mirror's Matthew Wright celebrate the launch of the Zoe & Kevin Breakfast show 1997.

? Mirror Syndication


Matthew made radical changes at Radio One. As Controller, he was responsible for dismissing with the traditional 'personality' DJ presenters. He attempted to reposition the station by making it more elitist and narrowing the target audience age. He was later helped (1995) by Trevor Dann, who was known at Radio 1 as 'Dann, Dann, the Hatchet Man'. Listener ratings fell sharply during his reign. Matthew recruited Chris Evans to the station. 


He was replaced by Andy Parfitt in February 1998. Briefly Director of Radio, he then took up the post of Chief Executive of BBC Production and Director of Marketing and Communications. He resigned from the BBC October 2000.


Now back at the Beeb, Matthew currently presents a late night chat show on Radio Five Live with a reflective look at the day's news and sport. Weekdays between 10.00pm and 1.00am.




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NEW  Matthew gets interviewed for News '93 on his first day as Controller  (3 mins)



1993 to 1997


Name Details (ages at time of departure)

Weekly Ratings RAJAR Aged 15+ 


March 1993

Tommy Vance (50)

Friday Rock Show

Left after 15 years at Radio 1 to present a daily show on Virgin Radio. Replaced by Simon Bates? assistant Claire Sturgess.



March 1993

Jo Whiley

Jo joined The Evening Session in the Spring of 1993 and in September she became permanent co-presenter with Steve Lamacq.



March 1993

Claire Sturgess

Highly recommended by Simon Bates in 1993, now works for XFM.



8th August 1993

Dave Lee Travis (48)

Weekend mid-morning show

DLT was sacked following his live on-air statement August 1993, after 26 years. He declared "Changes are being Made which go against my principles and I just cannot agree with them? he... "could not continue to work for the station under current circumstances.''...... "the only option is very regrettably for me to leave - so that is what I am doing".

Replaced by 26 yr old Claire Sturgess (Saturdays) N Campbell (Sundays) then Danny Baker 9 weeks later.



July 93

Johnny Beerling (56)

R1 Controller

Controller of Radio 1 for 8 years, with Radio 1 for 35, Johnny sadly left saying working at the BBC had become like "life under Communism", he said he quit because he could not work in the "totalitarian" organisation run by "his Royal Birtness" (reference to Director General John Birt). Complained of "total control from the centre and very little flexibility or room for Manoeuvre." Beerling attacked presenter Danny Baker as epitomising the "new BBC Man" - a "DJ interested only in promoting his own reputation rather than the network as a whole".

He was re-hired by the BBC in March 1995 to Manage the ?1m BBC October music Live 95 concert.


July 93

Matthew Bannister

R1 Controller

Commenced officially Oct 1 1993 (as Radio 1 controller). Implemented sweeping changes. Resigned from the BBC October 2000.

Oct 1993

Alan Freeman (66) Was presenting a Saturday night rock show when he 'retired' but joined Radio 2 April 1997 to present oldies show Pick of the Pops.  
Bob Harris (46)


moved to GLR and in 1997 to Radio 2, hosting weekly 'Bob Harris Show' (Sat 10pm) and 'Bob Harris Country' (Thurs 7pm)  
Man Ezeke The first black daytime DJ on Radio 1 Man Ezeke had presented a show 'Radio ones on One' on Sunday afternoons. 

Diane Oxberry Former Afternoon Girl now broadcasts on BBC Northwest news.  
Nicky Campbell

Left  the station temporarily to care for his wife who was suffering from ill health. Returned January 1994.



Johnnie Walker

Saturday Sequence

Went on to broadcast on Radio 2 presenting the Drivetime show on John Dunn's retirement in 1998.  

Sep 93

Simon Bates (47)

Weekday mid-morning show

Resigned 24/09/1993. Actually finished Friday October 23. Replaced by Simon Mayo (35). His resignation was revealed days before a reshuffle was due at Radio 1. He had presented the morning show for 13 years, and built up a following of 9 million listeners per week. Aug 1994 - he publicly called for Bannister & Liz Forgan (BBC Network Radio) to resign over falling ratings.  


Sep 1993

Steve Lamacq

Steve joined Radio 1 in September 1993 as co-presenter of The Evening Session with Jo Whiley, which he described as "a terrific, scary, exhilarating, fun job". Since February 1997 Steve has been the sole presenter of The Evening Session.



Oct 1993

Mark & Lard

(Mark Radcliffe & Mark Riley)

Former Radio 5 'Hit the North' DJ Mark Radcliffe had a four nights a week show on R1 from October 1993 with his sidekick Mark 'Lard' Riley.


Danny Baker (36)

Weekend mid-morning Show

Commenced with a #150,000 contract . First weekend show 30.10.93. Lost 700,000 listeners by Sept 1994. Show was aired Saturdays only from Nov 1994 (Sundays then by Simon Mayo). Show included Paul Merton, singer Bryan Ferry, Keith Chegwin and an segment involving an alligator. Said in Sept 94 that he had offered his resignation three times but was given a further twelve-month contract.



Jan 1994

Adrian Juste

Saturday Lunchtime Show

Adrian said he was notified by telephone on a Friday prior to his broadcast.  

Dec  93

Gary Davies (34)

Weekend Breakfast Show

Presented the weekend breakfast show. Replaced by Kevin Greening. He opted to leave the station after being unhappy at planned changes for his current adult rock oriented show.  

Dec 1993

Emma Freud Left in 1995. Interviewed Kenneth Brannagh about Frankenstein and spoke about Rwanda. Played few records. Took part in Union strike (June 1994) along with Nicky Campbell.

Jan 1994

Jakki Brambles Jakki Brambles replaced by Emma Freud. Jakki left  to go to the USA working for an independent production company  
STARTED Chris Morris

Cutting Edge

He had to Make an apology as his controversial show ?Cutting Edge? announced (incorrectly as a ?joke?) on air that Michael Heseltine & Jimmy Savile had died.  
1994 Djs


The 1994 DJ line up on the steps of All Saints Church.


Rear L-R; Andy Kershaw, Lynne Parsons, Steve Edwards, Jo Whiley, Steve Lamacq, Claire Sturgess, Pete Tong, John Peel.


Front L-R; Mark Goodier, Simon Mayo, Mark Tonderai, Steve Wright


Oct 1994

Sound Advisers Sound Advisers Recruited by the BBC - a panel of six members of the public aged 16 to 29 recruited to put forward listeners?' views.




Dec 94

Tim Westwood.

 He joined Radio 1 in December 1994



Jan 1995

Trevor Dann (43)

Head of Production

Friend of Matthew Bannister started January 1995 as Head of Production. Brief to remove ?behind the scene staff? and ?old style? presenters missed by Matthew Bannister. March 1996; "If I go down in history as the Man who stopped Radio 1 playing crap records, then I shall be a proud Man." He also banned Quo and the Beatles. A Daily mirror Poll in March 1996 revealed that 91 per cent of readers wanted to hear the Beatles single Real Love played on Radio 1.  ?

Jan 1995

Steve Wright (40)

Weekday Breakfast Show

Quit 13.01.95. Voted the nation's most popular DJ by readers of Smash Hits Magazine 1994 poll. He was known to be bitterly unhappy that his producer, Mic Wilkojc had chosen to leave.

He also disagreed with being told what records to play on his morning show. BBC bosses subsequently threatened court action against Talk Radio UK as Steve?s Radio 1 contract was valid until 1997.

His morning show was replaced by Marc Goodier for 3 months.



Jan 1995

Lisa I' Anson A capable broadcaster, but was sacked  after just three years for missing her show because of ?partying too hard? in Ibiza.  

Feb 1995

Bruno Brookes

Weekday early morning Show

Last pre - Bannister presenter to leave. Sacked by Trevor Dann 24.02.95 after 11 years, only minutes after his early morning show finished at 6.30am. Bruno, who also presented the Sunday Top 40, was said to be "gutted" when told his ?100,000 contract, which ended in April 1995, was not being renewed.

Bruno also said he had quit because he was fed up with getting up at 3am., and Matthew Bannister could not offer a better time slot.

His morning show was taken over by Dave Pearce, from Kiss FM, and the Sunday chart show by Mark Goodier.


Apr 1995

Dave Pearce

Early Weekday morning Show

Dave joined Radio 1 in April 1995, initially hosting the Early Breakfast Show on weekday mornings, moving to weekend mornings in October of the same year.

Feb 1995

Chris Evans

Weekday Breakfast Show

Took over from Steve Wright in April to host the Breakfast Show. 8-month contract reported to be 1 million pounds. In July 96 he mocked Anne Franks diary; Radio 1 ?deeply regretted the offence?. Had 7m listeners per week in Oct 1996 , when he labelled Matthew Bannister as a ?Fat Controller?. He was sacked by Bannister Feb 1997 after asking for Friday?s off (Nov 96). Replaced by Mark & Lard (Mark Radcliffe (37) and Marc Riley (38) then Zoe Ball (28) from Oct 1993. His Ginger media Group purchased Virgin Radio after he left Radio 1.  


1 in the Jungle Brian B.F. was the original architect of the newly launched 1 in the Jungle format on Radio 1 which later became the Fabio & Grooverider show),  

Jul 1997

Chris Moyles

Chris joined Radio 1 on 28 July 1997 and styled himself as ?The Saviour of Early morning Radio? taking the early morning 4.00am slot. Now on weekday afternoons.



Sep 1997

Zoe Ball (26)

Weekday Breakfast Show

250,000 contract co-host the early-morning slot with Kevin Greening, 33.



Oct 1997

Judge Jules

In October 1997, Jules moved to BBC Radio 1 (Saturday's 5pm - 7pm)



Comments (1)

5/5 (1)
Anthony (Accrington Lancashire) says...
"I'm not here to maximise audiences at all costs, if I was I'd be fired and Radio 1 would deserve to fail and be privatised.", what an idiot!!! Before this person stepped in Radio 1 had millions of listeners and lots of happy people within the station and it was doing rather well for itself, what is wrong with that? The tory government of the day had a stupid anomaly, in that 'the BBC SHOULDN'T be doing anything as popular as Radio 1, that should be left to the ... Read More
26th July 2015 8:36am
Page 1 of 1

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