Well 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.

Cliff 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.

Come 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 back".

The 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.

Never 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!

So its 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 his songs!

I soon 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.

It's 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!

As the clock ticked nearer to 6:30, Julian told me how he hoped this protest would escalate. "There'll be 500 by Wednesday!"

Susan 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!"

By this 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!"

I put 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"

By now, 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!"

I think 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 the protest.

He did 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!"

Chris 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.

Chris 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.

At the 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!

As the week went on, Evans announced that there was no Fued between him and Cliff and it was still a big PR stunt.

I 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!

Chris Vs Cliff - The Protest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've since 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!