Temple puts creative mark on Radio 1

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The Independent Online
HE'S never heard of Start The Week or the Moral Maze, and he hardly ever reads newspapers - "the inkies" as he calls them. He's seriously good-looking and his mop of dark hair is starring in posters all over Britain. Eddy Temple-Morris is enough to send "cute boy" alerts through gatherings of women anywhere, but it is his voice and his asinine sense of humour for which he gets paid by the reformulated Radio 1. That and his cheerful devotion to pop.

Temple-Morris makes the promotional material and trailers that fill in the bits between the DJs and the records on the reborn biggest pop station in Britain, and is part of the influx of people, and more importantly the new mood, at the bit of the BBC that a year ago seemed to be haemorrhaging confidence at about the rate that it was losing audiences.

Conventional wisdom has it that Chris Evans is putting on nice new numbers with his morning show and that that will flop over into a brighter future for the whole station. Certainly, Evans's compelling inanity suits Eddy and the target audience. "Chris is great," Temple-Morris says, "but then I share his lavatorial sense of humour."

He is delighted with his input to Evans's show, which includes nonsense about only "very big ones" - traffic jams, that is - getting into the bulletins, and a good deal of heavy breathing.

But Evans's success is in the image of the big-name approach of the old Radio 1. Something else is at work. The new Radio 1 is entirely at home with a present burst of creativity and verve in the pop world, and was strikingly on show last weekend. "We broadcast 21 hours of material from Glastonbury," says Temple-Morris. "We really made bands like Oasis and Tricky, and no other radio station could have done that."

Radio 1 plays far more records than any other pop station - about 1,200 different songs a week. Its weekend dance programmes are fashionable listening, and even during the day there is some adventurous music. We seem to be at one of those happy junctures when British youth doesn't have to tell the difference between "commercial" and "alternative" music.

As the personification of the new spirit, Temple-Morris might seem to have an odd pedigree. His father is Peter Temple-Morris, Tory MP for Leominster, in Herefordshire, and his mother is from one of the oldest traceable families in Iran. Educated at Malvern, Temple-Morris junior does not bother to downspeak. In fact there is nothing of the Drabbie about him at all. After years in bands in London, he returned to the sticks to transform the jingledom of BBC Hereford and Worcester until a Guardian ad alerted him to the job of his dreams.

A fan in his county days of Harley-Davidsons, he now rides a vast black Yamaha with "Choose Death" as its logo. The message is a signal of Eddy's loyalty to his brother "Boz", marketing director of Death cigarettes, whose battle with HM Customs and Excise will be continued in the Appeal Court next week.

That their father is as cool as his boys was demonstrated earlier in the year when tabloids fingered Eddy as the man behind Norman Sphincter, a backside which had been featuring on Channel 4's World Of Wonder. For a lark, Temple-Morris had run up a video of his backside made up as Loyd Grossman. "I did it on the draining board of the kitchen, surrounded by vegetables and cooking utensils," says the contented purveyor of egregious bad taste.

Takeover TV heard of it and invited Temple-Morris to extend his rear- end's repertoire to presenting a show. "I did Sean Connery as Bond, and Terry Christian," he says. The papers rang the MP, hoping for embarrassment or outrage. But Temple-Morris pere pronounced himself mildly amused.

At 30, Temple-Morris is entering the decade during which being interested in the pop end of the rock music business can look silly. With luck, the quality of the stuff pouring out of the clubs should put off the moment when he ought to be schmoozing the controller of Radio 2.

The post-punk, post-reggae stuff filling the Radio 1 airwaves bids well to appeal to blokes hanging off scaffolding as well as to bright A-level students (not that they are mutually exclusive). As Scott Peiring, at 40 a veteran record-plugger anxious to get bands on Radio 1's playlist, says: "People like me can only appreciate it - never be a part of it."

In the poster, Temple-Morris is trying to persuade a DJ that his favourite band is likely to be as big as Elastica. Which would he nominate as the next big success? "Garbage," he says, "Except they'll be bigger." Hope it's not in your dreams, Eddy.