Last morning: The Chris Moyles Show, Radio 1, 6.30am-10am

Moyles leaves trail of bombast with final goodbyes

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

He departed, much as he arrived, leaving a trail of bombast and self-congratulation. Chris Moyles reluctantly handed over the Radio 1 breakfast show to his successor, telling Nick Grimshaw he had a "tough act to follow" at the conclusion of his final broadcast.

The longest-serving steward of the flagship slot, surviving for eight and a half years, Moyles followed an official, celebrity-packed "goodbye" show on Thursday with a final, tearful swan-song on Friday.

His 1,898th breakfast show began inauspiciously with a "Wow! Everyone alright? I'm great, I'm really excited." But by his 10am exit from Broadcasting House, to a parody song exclaiming "he's still the saviour", no-one could be in any doubt that Radio 1 had levered out not merely a giant of the airwaves but a great humanitarian.

Screenwriter Richard Curtis and the Comic Relief team paid an impromptu studio visit to praise Moyles for raising £10.4m for the charity through various "extraordinary" endeavours, including a 52-hour continuous broadcast with loyal sidekick Comedy Dave.

As ever, the playing of actual records was given short shrift as the 38-year-old hit his stride, chiding the "haters" who criticised him from the start. Presenting the show brought "a lot of crap", but it was "all worth going through. I thought I would be fired and dragged out by my hair." Friday's finale was "some weird victory" after "all the flak we've taken", he said.

Addressing Grimshaw directly – "Nick, it's the best job in the world" – Moyles asked his audience of 7 million (and falling, according to the most recent figures) to lend their ears to the new boy. "He might get a tough reaction at the start but hopefully the listeners will give him time."

Despite rows over alleged misogyny and homophobic comments, it was age that finally withered the Leeds-born DJ. "They're say we're too old, they say we've got to go," went a cheeky jingle, acknowledging that he was not leaving of his own accord.

After further tributes from Chris Martin, sports presenter Tina Daheley was the first of Moyles' devoted on-air team, the real victims of his departure, to blub. The Streets' "Dry Your Eyes" provided an aptly mawkish accompaniment to the final moments of a figure who defined a certain kind of blokeish banter.

Moyles concluded with a heartfelt thanks to his listeners for "making all of our dreams come true", and reminded them that "I'm not dead". Tickets are now on sale for a live Chris Moyles Show touring Britain, his second album of parody songs is due for release and he will soon make his stage debut as Herod in an arena revival of Jesus Christ Superstar.

New agents have been tasked with turning him into a mainstream TV celebrity. Despite being offered a late-night Radio 1 show, this goodbye, when he eventually hung up his mic in scenes broadcast live on the BBC News Channel, appears final. Moyles hinted that he might even leave Britain and "do something else in another land".

Moyles is regarded within the radio industry as a supremely gifted mic technician, in an era when TV celebrities are routinely ushered onto the airwaves. Under the bravado an intelligent, even sensitive soul, may be itching to break cover. And if Grimshaw should falter, there was a warning in the jingle with which Moyles left the building: "Even though we want to stay, we might be back some day…"