Greg James’s Breakfast Show debut includes Red Arrows and a lion
He has taken over from Nick Grimshaw in the morning slot.
Greg James’s Radio 1 Breakfast Show debut included an alternative display by the Red Arrows, a roar from a lion, and guest appearances by comedian Joe Lycett and DJ Calvin Harris.
The DJ joked that he had been preparing for “about 20 years” as he kicked off his first show at 6.30am on Monday, later joking that he would keep hosting “until I’m sacked”.
James, who took over from Nick Grimshaw in the station’s flagship morning slot, greeted listeners with a simple “Oh hi!”, and called it an “unbelievably exciting” moment.
He said: “It is happening. I should probably start by introducing myself.
“My name is Greg James and I love radio more than anything else in the whole world, it is the best thing.
“It is there when you are happy, it’s there when you are sad.
“It cheers you up, it makes you laugh, it sums up moments in your life and this is the most famous radio show in the world and it’s a privilege to share it with you every morning.”
James welcomed back his regular listeners from his previous drivetime slot, and new ones tuning in to hear him for the first time.
I have not missed my alarm. This is a good start at least.— Greg James (@gregjames) August 20, 2018
“There’s a lot in today’s show, I’ve been preparing it for about 20 years. It’s full,” he said.
James, 32, started by asking listeners to choose the first song, acknowledging the importance of the track and commenting on how it “sets the tone” for his show.
Fans had 30 seconds to vote, and Levels by Avicii was the first track played.
A lion featured as James’s first Breakfast Show guest, after a suggestion from a Blackpool Zoo zookeeper.
“Let’s wake up some lions, and then wake up the UK with some roaring,” James said.
Over the phone, the zookeeper managed to coax Wallace the lion to grunt and roar.
Later in the show, James revealed he had booked the RAF’s Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, for a display to mark his first day.
He told listeners: “It’s not exactly the Red Arrows… essentially, I couldn’t afford the planes.
“This is the BBC, we don’t want to fritter away people’s licence fee on jet engine fuel, so I couldn’t get the planes.
“However, I have booked the Red Arrows pilots, so the actual pilots will be here, they have red bicycles which the RAF have sent to Radio 1, and they will be doing a display on the piazza outside the BBC, where they film The One Show.”
He added: “They’ve got the red, white and blue smoke, the bikes and the actual Red Arrows pilots.”
Comedian Lycett, who joined James throughout the show to man the phones, acted as the commentator for the display.
Commenting on the smoke, he joked: “It stinks out here, that stuff stinks. It smells like a barbeque where someone has left a prawn on for too long.”
James’s show also saw him phone DJ Harris, which led to an in-depth discussion about gardening.
“That has flown by, pardon the pun,” James told listeners as his first programme drew to a close.
“I hoped it would be fun, I was hoping that this would be as good as it has been, and it has just been better. I’ve loved it.
“The great is, this is the first one.
“Let’s do some more tomorrow, and the day after and the day after and so on, until I’m sacked.”