This Is How Radio 1 Ended Up Broadcasting In Total Silence After Greg James’ Latest Stunt

It’s not the first time that Greg has been caught up in a weird and wonderful challenge.
Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James
Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James
Joe Maher via Getty Images

If you tuned in to BBC Radio 1 around midday on Friday, you’d have heard something truly unexpected: total silence.

The station went completely quiet between 12pm and 12.05pm, breaking one of the most important rules of radio – never broadcast dead air.

So how did this bizarre situation happen? If you’ve been listening to Radio 1 this week, you’ll know that Breakfast Show host Greg James has got tangled up in another on-air stunt.

On Monday, Greg was expecting every single Radio 1 DJ to join him in the studio for a special summer game, but not a single one turned up.

Instead, he was informed that, as part of the Giant DJ Hunt, his colleagues had gone “missing” from the radio schedule – and with the help of his listeners and a handful of clues, he would have to try and track them down before midday on Friday (today).

“Greg, your job is to put Radio 1 back together, one presenter at a time,” his initial instructions, delivered through a print-out, explained. “When a DJ is found you will have to get them to a BBC studio. Right now you’re the only presenter on the station. You have 30 DJs to find, don’t take too long.”

His colleagues soon started posting clues about their whereabouts on Instagram, prompting their followers to do some sleuthing, trying to pinpoint any recognisable locations or landmarks that might narrow things down.

First to be discovered was Charlie Hedges, who was found hanging out in a Tayto’s crisp factory in Northern Ireland.

Loyal listeners even managed to find Greg’s colleagues who were hiding much further afield, with Pete Tong and Danny Howard discovered in Ibiza (although, to paraphrase the meme, the party island is a “likely place for them to be”).

This morning, Greg managed to track down the vast majority of the errant DJs, but he didn’t find Mollie King before his midday deadline, prompting the station to go dark for five minutes.

Mollie, it turned out, had been sailing near the Isle of Wight, and Greg had to hire a boat in order to reach her. And to do that, he had to fill out some health and safety forms, which seriously slowed down his progress.

The countdown to the blackout was seriously dramatic, as Greg and co-presenter Charlie started to panic when they couldn’t see their colleague. And then? Complete and utter silence, much to listeners’ bemusement.

It didn’t take too long for things to return back to normal(ish), though, as Greg and Charlie eventually met up with Mollie and the station went back on air.

Dedicated Radio 1 fans will know that this is far from the first time that Greg has become embroiled in some unexpected on-air antics.

Back in 2018, he and then-colleague Nick Grimshaw led a 22-hour game of Hide and Seek, sharing a series of clues to help listeners work out their location. It eventually turned out that they’d been holed up in a room in the Liver Building on Liverpool’s waterfront.

The following year, Greg was trapped in an escape room and called on listeners to crack the code to get him out, then in 2020, he was “kidnapped” after attending the Brits.

More recent stunts have seen him stuck in a caravan, and made to complete a nationwide “giant jigsaw”.


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