Leading Article: Telling the men from the boors

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The Independent Online
Chris Evans is not, perhaps, the ideal employee. Slow into work. Asks for a later start. Won't do outside broadcasts in the summer. Takes 12 weeks holiday. Says of his boss, who pays him a rare BBC salary, on air, "How ungrateful is this guy? Before we joined he was out on his ear."

And then there's Evans's manner, by turns moaning, aggressive and celebrity- sycophantic; his hubris ("Marconi is listening in the heavens"); his remarks about sheep and Scotsmen. Reasons enough, it seemed, for Radio 1 to sack him last week.

The newspapers certainly approved. Some saw darker vanities still: Evans was "driven by demons", decided the Daily Mail, offering its own "chilling insight into [the] Jekyll-and-Hyde DJ's frenzied mind". He was "cruel, boorish, negative, ugly, and infuriating" - in short, a megalomaniac. And exactly what the BBC had in mind when they hired him. Since April 1995, Evans's tantrums have gained his show and his station near-continuous attention, both from listeners and from newspapers, the latter's censure, oddly, expressed by giving him maximum coverage.

Stars are supposed to whine. Think of Brando, weeks late for the filming of Apocalypse Now, holed up in his on-set treehouse, grumpily pawing at the script for the first time. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, screaming for a sandpit to be built in his studio. Elvis and his hamburger orders. In truth, Chris Evans, with his smutty jokes, is an apprentice at obnoxiousness. His final, unacceptable demand on Radio 1 was more suburban man than superstar: he wanted Fridays off.