Greg James reveals he nearly quit Radio 1 Breakfast Show: ‘I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m sad’

Radio presenter took over the flagship BBC programme from Nick Grimshaw in 2018

Greg James speaks to BBC Radio 1 about going missing

Greg James has admitted that he almost quit the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 2021.

The radio presenter has hosted the flagship BBC programme for the past three years, after he took over from Nick Grimshaw.

In a new interview with The Independent, James said that he’d considered leaving the job in February last year, at the height of the pandemic when the country was in lockdown.

“I had a conversation with my boss and I was just like ‘I can’t do it anymore,’” James said.

“I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m sad and everyone else is sad. The team and I were just like, ‘How do we keep this going while we’re worrying about all the other things in our lives?’”

The 36-year-old said that he was talked down from leaving by his producer, who told him that everyone was struggling with mental health while lockdown restrictions were in place.

“You’re a long time not on the Breakfast Show,” he told himself. “It’s a privilege to get to do it. And it’s going well. So, I’m just going to keep going until I don’t like it anymore.”

James has worked at Radio 1 since 2007, when he initially presented early breakfast cover. He hosted the drivetime show from 2012 to 2018.

Read the full interview in The Independent.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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