Virgin Radio’s breakfast DJ Christian O’Connell is currently in the midst of his annual competition called ‘Who’s Calling Christian?’
The simple premise is getting members of the public to encourage celebrities to call in to the show and be entertaining. The winning celeb (voted for by the public) gets Â£20k for their charity, while the persuasive punter gets Â£20k for himself.
It’s a clever premise and one that O’Connell pioneered himself, but not on Virgin Radio. In fact, he started it some years ago, when he was on XFM and it was far more imaginatively titled ‘Bounty Hunter’.
In the days when it was on a ‘local’ radio station, the callers were usually very funny, spontaneous and simply willing to do it for a laugh.
The problem is, now it’s on a national radio station and is a successful format, it seems to be being abused by the celebs who ring up, desperate to get a plug in about their latest project.
In its early XFM days, one caller almost won when she got Dame Judi Dench to call up, having spotted her in the Returns department of Ikea in Croydon. Simple as that. Dame Judi was lovely to chat to and didn’t try to shoehorn her latest (probably Oscar-nominated) film into the conversation.
Now you just get the impression that agents invent friends or members of the public who then cajole the celebrity into calling up, all the while knowing that Mr O’Connell will almost inevitably ask the old chestnut: “So, what are you up to at the moment?”
Shame on you, Christian. I always thought you’d sold out when left XFM and now it’s pretty obvious you have!