well well, ever since Cliff Richard made his appearance on TFI, the air between
Chris and Cliff has become heated, to say the least! But what is the war really
about? In another exclusive report, The Unofficial TFI Friday Website
decided to investigate.
made his, now legendary, appearance on TFI, and everything, it seems, went
well. Both Chris and Cliff appeared to be enjoying themselves, although it
was probably a big mistake for Cliff to admit to not watching the show.
the following Monday morning, and it was soon obvious that all was not well
in the world. On Mondays brekkie show, Chris asked the team if "We have any
Cliff Richard records around the building?" and "Can we throw them all out?"
Strong words indeed. He reckons that he and Cliff didnít get on very well
the previous week. "Cliff threw the first punch" Evans explains, "then I fought
week went on, and Chris decided that he was to ban all of Cliff's records
from Virgin Radio, and he also destroyed some records live on air!!! Now it's
all well and good Chris saying all this - he's entitled to his opinions, but
all this time, Cliff has not had the chance to respond.
mind, all the time this was going on, something was stirring in fan-land.
The fans were not happy, and were planning to represent Cliff and make a stand
against the ginger one. Suddenly, they made their move. On Monday, October
19th 1998, a group of fans made a protest outside the Virgin Radio office.
The Unofficial TFI Friday Website made a brief appearance, to see just
what was going on!
6am on the 19th, and outside the Virgin office, with half an hour to go until
the show starts, is a group of about 8 people with a few more arriving shortly
after. Now I was expecting to find a handful of older ladies, I was quite
surprised to find quite a few 20-something looking women too! All weilding
their Cliff posters and placards! They even had a cassette recorder playing
found out who the "organiser" of this event was - a chap by the name of Julian
Pearson. I asked him why everyone was here. "It's a disgrace!" he replied.
"Cliff has had a number 1 hit every decade for the last 50 years!" He went
on to tell me about Chris breaking Cliff's records on air. He added, "Cliff's
a living legend. Chris won't play Cliff's records at all." So that's what
it's all about! And how far has this mainly female crowd travelled from? Whilst
some came from North London (Willesden Green, as one lady kept telling me.
A neighbour of mine? Quite possibly!), others had travelled from as far afield
as Leicester and Devon! Quite a commitment to Mr. Richard indeed! Especially
as they said they would stay here as long as it takes! Weeks if necessary.
approaching 6:15, and no-one has seen Chris Evans yet. The crowd assumed he
was still on his way. No-one thought about Virgin having a "stage door". By
this time, members of Virgin/Ginger staff were arriving at the building. Chants
of "Play Cliff! Play Cliff" filled the air. The Virgin guys hurried into the
building, but not before they had been asked "Do you work for Virgin?" To
which all of them replied, "No!". Does this mean that they are ashamed
of working there, and of what Chris has done? Even Jamie the Student was
seen poking his head outside, and looking what was happening!
clock ticked nearer to 6:30, Julian told me how he hoped this protest would
escalate. "There'll be 500 by Wednesday!"
Murray, another protestor, told me how they were all "Saving for a big red
double decker bus." She added, "Who's going to remember Chris Evans in 40
years time? We're not stupid, millions of people over the years can't be wrong!"
time it was 6:30. Time for the show to start. They finally realised that Evans
must have taken the back door into work. "Coward!" they cried! Another of
the gang proudly declared that they would, "Be here for the next 3 days, and
hope that public pressure make Virgin play the batchelor boy. Especially as
his single has just gone in at number ten!"
it to them that Chris has recently had Cliff on the show. "He's ran out of
guests!" was their reply. "He's even had Kylie on! He needs Cliff. If this
were Boyzone, they'd be playing them"
the time was 6:45 and it was time for The Unofficial TFI Friday Web Site
to make an exit. About 6:50, Chris broke the news of what was happening outside.
He told us how he had a strange weekend, and then "I come to work, and find
a load of Cliff Richard fans outside with banners, saying Please Play Cliff!"
He said how he fooled them as "the first half hour was recorded on tape, so
ner ner I'm not even here!"
Chris was otherwise occupied with the story of the Blue Peter presenter sacked
for taking Cocaine, otherwise he would have spent more time commenting on
say, however, how they are "Not real fans. They're PR fans, here in the hope
that real fans will join them!" Although Evans did admit to liking Richard,
he now says he doesn't! His high point, according to Chris, was the incident
at Wimbledon. To which sidekick John Revell replied "I was behind the sofa
at the time!"
was talking about Cliff on TFI. He said how Cliff was complaining about paying
40% tax, to which Evans explained how "40% off a load of money is still a
load of money, but with the normal people, 24% off not much money is still
not much money" Chris continued to say how the tax is used for hospitals and
public services, and how Richard wasn't being very Christian about this.
invited people to phone in with all their stories about why Cliff is a nice
man. According to Jamie, there were some callers, but none good enough to
put on the air. About the best they got was "Cliff signed me an autograph
once!" Evans concluded that this was enough evidence that the Virgin audience
do not want to hear Cliff. His example was that there wasn't much chance of
Radio 3 playing Never Mind The Bollocks. Fair point, Chris.
end of the day, Evans hadn't given in to the protest - his ban on Cliff Richard
still stands. So it appears that Chris may have won the battle, but from the
way the protesters are talking, the war is far from over!
week went on, Evans announced that there was no Fued between him and Cliff
and it was still a big PR stunt.
did have my camera with me, although, Sod's law, the flash wasn't working,
and unfortunately the street lights were not bright enough. Doh!
Vs Cliff - The Protest
heard that there were reporters from (amongst others) The Times and ITN News
at the scene.
Just remember that The Unofficial TFI Friday Website was there first!