That's no producer. That's my wife

The former Radio 1 DJ Simon Mayo, a few days into a new life at 5 Live, counts down his Top 10 moments, chosen from 15 years of playing the hits at the 'nation's favourite'
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The Independent Online

Up there with "former Home and Away star" and "one-time contestant on Popstars", surely "ex-Radio 1 DJ" is one of the least desirable epithets to be attached to. It conjures up horrendous images of the bitter, bewildered and bearded. I am only a few days into my new status, and so far, no disasters to report, no gestures of hatred, no public displays of disdain. I have decided not to follow some of my illustrious predecessors and write my memoirs. So instead, for my personal record if nothing else, here are my top 10 favourite moments from 15 years of life at "the nation's favourite", 1FM.

Up there with "former Home and Away star" and "one-time contestant on Popstars", surely "ex-Radio 1 DJ" is one of the least desirable epithets to be attached to. It conjures up horrendous images of the bitter, bewildered and bearded. I am only a few days into my new status, and so far, no disasters to report, no gestures of hatred, no public displays of disdain. I have decided not to follow some of my illustrious predecessors and write my memoirs. So instead, for my personal record if nothing else, here are my top 10 favourite moments from 15 years of life at "the nation's favourite", 1FM.

10 On my first day at Radio 1, a record company rep handing me a bag with the label's latest releases on vinyl and cassette plus, as a surprise bonus, some spliff-making equipment within its ample pocket-space. The record company then took me to see Supertramp at the Albert Hall and offered me further herbal relaxants. I was tempted but decided that maybe it wasn't the most judicious way to start life with the BBC. That remains the only time I was offered illegal substances while at Radio 1. Sorry, Daily Mail, but it's true.

9 As a birthday surprise, my producer arranged for Naomi Campbell to drop in to the show with a cake, to wish me many happy returns. Nice idea. If only I had recognised her, it might have worked.

8 Appearing at the Torquay roadshow in 1990 dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Leonardo, I think. Or possibly Tinky Winky. Or it may have been Barry Gibb. Where are those record company bags when you need them?

7 Covering the World Cup in France in 1998, I made friends - or so I thought - with a number of the Tartan Army. They appeared on the show, sang their songs and drank my coffee. They returned the favour by pursuing me through Bordeaux's busy shopping centre, chanting at the tops of their merry voices: "With a packet of crisps and a cheeky smile, Mayo is a f***ing paedophile." A moment to treasure.

6 During a competition, instead of giving out the quiz-line number, I gave out my home phone number. I then compounded the problem by saying: "Oh, that's my home phone number." Maybe I should have played "Misty" and had done with it.

5 Having sexual relations with one of my producers. We had been waiting for the right moment, and finally the opportunity arose. We could wait no longer. It caused a bit of a stir and was even discussed at the illustrious Programme Review Board. They were not at all sure it was right for a presenter to be produced by his wife, but by then it was too late.

4 What some bishops said to some actresses. On "The Big Holy One" we had a regular feature pitting bishops against sceptical actresses. It produced some notable exchanges, such as when the normally cogent, clear-thinking and persuasive Bishop of Guildford sat there agreeing with everything our doubting actress was saying. This was for the very good reason that he was sitting opposite Catherine Zeta Jones. The Oscar academy may be able to ignore her charms, but the bishop, it seemed, could not.

3 The now-out-of-favour roadshow, home for many years to Smiley-Miley, wizard japes and on-stage games that Peter Stringfellow would have been proud of. But two memories stand out. The total eclipse of 1999 (great radio, whatever anyone tells you) and being sat on by all five Spice Girls in Southsea in 1995 (great radio, whatever my wife tells you).

2 A prominent member of the BBC's upper echelon stopping me in a Broadcasting House corridor, telling me how much he loved my show and how much better it was than its predecessor. Flattered, I bid him farewell; as I moved out of sight, he called after me: "See you later, Steve." Whether it was Wright, Madden or maybe even Race he thought he was talking to, I never dared find out. But it's nice to be famous.

1 Comic Relief is, in my opinion, one of the great British institutions (I know that DJs talking about "charidy, mate" is punishable by death, but bear with me). Setting the world record for a single broadcast - 37 hours - was justifiable only in terms of raising the Red Nose profile, but it did provide me with the chance to do the following: co-present with John Peel, discuss Marxist theory at 4am, do a threesome with Mark and Lard, mix it with Pete Tong and, finally, when my head was a whirl of sleep-deprived, caffeine-crazed exhaustion, interview Mr Blobby.

Life at Radio 5 Live has a lot to live up to.

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