Evans `depressed' after quitting Radio One

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The Independent Online
Staff at Radio One were wondering yesterday whether the maverick disc jockey Chris Evans would turn up for work tomorrow morning, following his decision to quit the BBC station's breakfast show.

Mr Evans, millionaire broadcaster and former presenter of Channel Four's The Big Breakfast, resigned after his plea to be allowed Fridays off to concentrate on his television programme was rejected by Radio One controller, Matthew Bannister.

It was an unprecedented demand for the presenter of an all-important show. Mr Bannister told Evans that it did not fit in with his plans and it was agreed the DJ will leave at the end of March. But staff, who have seen Mr Evans' behaviour become increasingly unpredictable since he joined the station two years ago, wonder whether he will arrive for work on Monday. Last year he failed to turn up after a week's holiday, and he had asked for 14 weeks leave this year in return for coping with the gruelling hours a breakfast show demands.

"He's very, very depressed," said one Radio One insider. "He has surrounded himself with friends and now Matthew has called his bluff by accepting his resignation. What Matthew has done is show that no one is bigger than the station."

It is not hard to understand how Evans came to think of himself as Radio One's saviour. He drew an extra 600,000 listeners, attracting more than seven million, but his anarchic style made his bosses nervous. His insults made against BBC bosses and celebrities on air, axeing of his roadshow and demand to start his programme 30 minutes later had been said to have exasperated Bannister, dubbed the Fat Controller by the DJ.

But the frustration is now being felt by Evans, according to friends at the station. "Chris will be thinking of other DJs who've left and been thought indispensable, but where are they now? You can be a huge success on radio, but it's much, much harder to dominate TV, as Chris will find out."