Christian O'Connell

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Christian O'Connell
Christian O'Connell Absolute Radio 2017.jpeg
O'Connell in September 2017
Born Christian Liam O'Connell
(1973-04-07) 7 April 1973 (age 44)
Winchester, Hampshire, England, UK
Occupation Radio and television presenter
Years active 1999–present
Known for Presenting the breakfast show on Absolute Radio
Website Absolute Radio profile

Christian Liam O'Connell (born 7 April 1973 in Winchester, Hampshire)[1] is a British radio DJ, TV host, writer and comedian who presents The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio weekday mornings. He has won a record breaking number of radio awards including 11 Sony Radio Academy Gold awards. In 2014 he was the youngest radio presenter to be inducted into the UK Radio Academy Hall of Fame. He is known for his warm, irreverent ability to turn his real life stories into radio shows. He has performed three sold out tours of the International Edinburgh Fringe Comedy festival in 2013. 2014 and 2015. In September 2008 he published a book The Men Commandments (Harpers Collins) and in 2017 he published a children's book "Radio Boy" (Harper Collins)[citation needed] He is a popular international guest speaker and has collaborated with European, Australian and US radio shows. He hosted the McMillan Cancer comedy show at the London Palladium 2016 and will be hosting the Stand Up to Cancer show at the London Palladium in November 2017. He has hosted the Q Magazine Music awards 2013 to 2016 and will be hosting the awards again in October 2017.


Career[edit]

O'Connell started out on 2CR Radio in Bournemouth in 1998. He later moved to Juice FM in Liverpool in 2000. He commented "It was a budget, tin-pot station. They didn't have a lot of money." He formerly hosted BBC Radio 5 Live's weekend sports game show Fighting Talk from 2004-2006 and the 2013-14 season, the other presenters being BBC Football Commentator Jonathan Pearce and This Morning presenter Matt Johnson. He previously hosted the Breakfast Show on indie music station XFM London(January 2001 to October 2005). O'Connell joined the Virgin Radio team making his first broadcast on 23 January 2006. He celebrated his 10th year at Virgin (September 2008 it changed its name to Absolute) by giving his listeners free tins of food.

Shows[edit]

1998 - January 2000

  • The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, 2cr Fm, Bournemouth

January 2000 - January 2001

  • The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, Juice Fm Liverpool

January 2001 - October 2005

  • The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show,  Xfm London

January 2006 - September 2008

  • The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, Virgin Radio, Nationally Across the UK

September 2008 - Current

  • The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show, Absolute Radio, Nationally Across the UK

‘O’Connell also hosted BBC Radio Five Live’s FIGHTING TALK twice. 2004-2006, 2013-2014. Winning its first Sony Gold for it in 2005’

Notable radio guests[edit]

Steven Seagal[edit]

Steven Seagal who is consistently cited by O'Connell.

He has long been a fan of Hollywood action man Steven Seagal, who he had mentioned several times on radio, and remarked that he would love to meet. However, when Seagal rang O'Connell the relationship and understanding between the two was quite difficult and left O'Connell feeling disappointed. Seagal did not understand O'Connell's ironic personality and sense of humour and much of the recorded interview had to be removed from the radio broadcast.[2] The Observer described the interview as, "a spectacularly terrible interview in which O'Connell's questions dropped into a seemingly bottomless well of apathy."[2] O'Connell described the interview remarking; "It was the single worst thing I've ever done on radio. And the other week I was having a go at Michael Parkinson, saying he used to be fantastic but sadly now he's become too fawning, and then I did the Seagal thing and I thought: I should just leave." [2]

Liam Gallagher[edit]

On 27 October 2006, Liam Gallagher reportedly attempted to phone Absolute Radio (Virgin radio at the time) on "Who's calling Christian" where there is the chance to win £10,000 for charity. Liam was apparently in a drunken state and it took him 3 hours after an aggressive protest to convince Absolute bosses that it was indeed him and not an imposter.[3] A great deal of swearing occurred off air between the managers and Gallagher who swore that he would come down to Absolute Radio and "Rip Christian O'Connell's fucking head off". After further phone calls from Polydor records and from Nicole Appleton begging for him to be let on, Gallagher was eventually allowed on and swore live on air on a morning breakfast show. However, he did not complete the conversation, leaving his friend Scully to speak for him.[citation needed]

Tony Blair[edit]

Tony Blair called the "Who's Calling Christian?" hotline, after charity campaigner Graham Marsh contacted Blair. If he were to win, Marsh, who received a heart transplant in 1999, said he planned to donate his £10,000 to the two charities he supports - the Freemans Heart and Lung Transplant Association and the Tyne Youth and Community Centre, both in Newcastle upon Tyne. Blair began by telling the programme: "Probably nothing in my career has prepared me for this." When O'Connell asked if he should be referred to as The Right Honourable Tony Blair, the Prime Minister replied: "Refer to me any way you like as long as it's reasonably polite! Tony will do fine... Someone from my constituency phoned me and said 'Why don't we do this?' and I said yes because they are really, really good causes." The exchange ended with O'Connell asking Blair to choose his favourite song from the 1980s. He chose "Street With No Name" by U2 - actually called "Where the Streets Have No Name". Marsh and Blair resoundingly won the contest on 7 November 2006.[citation needed]

David Tennant[edit]

Actor David Tennant, a regular on the show and a friend of O'Connell, has been involved in some of the shows and O'Connell's professed "shabbiest" moments including the 2006 Christmas panto with Thandie Newton and the axed Mr. T escapade. In late March 2007 he appeared on the Breakfast show again and took part in another escapade "1 Golden Square" (the address of Absolute Radio). Later that week when he appeared on a rival show on BBC Radio 1 on the Saturday, Virgin Radio producer Roque Segade-Vieito contacted the station for a practical joke texting a question to Tennant as "I hear you have been signed up for a new programme called 1 Golden Square". Ironically, the question was taken seriously and addressed to Tennant live on Radio 1 leaving O'Connell rather pleased with the gag.[citation needed]

In November 2009, Tennant co-hosted the Absolute Breakfast Show with O'Connell for three consecutive days. In October 2010, Tennant co-hosted with O'Connell and acted out Copacabana with some of the Breakfast Show team to discover "just who shot who", something with had been debated for a few days prior to this. In September 2011, Tennant again co-hosted with O'Connell and experienced a fish-facing with a trout, as well as a tennis ball challenge outside the Absolute Radio studios.

James Nesbitt[edit]

James Nesbitt, another friend of O'Connell's, has also appeared on the show several times. He also appeared before he moved to Virgin Radio, with a guest appearance on O'Connell's XFM show in 2004.

David Cameron[edit]

David Cameron appeared on O'Connell's Absolute Radio show twice in 2009. His second appearance caused controversy when the Conservative leader used the expletives "pissed off" (referring to the public reaction to the expenses scandal) and (In reference to Twitter) said "too many twits might make a twat" while on air.[4]

Hamish and Andy[edit]

Australian comedy duo Hamish and Andy co-hosted a world first simulcast with O'Connell on Friday 18 May 2012. The show was broadcast to coincide with both O'Connell's breakfast show and drive time on the Hamish and Andy Show on Australia's Today Network. In 2016 O'Connell and the show joined up again for a 2 day competition with a race by each of their chosen listener's to win a holiday in the UK or Australia. O'Connell's listener lost and had to endure a return flight to the Uk with no holiday. He appeared again on their show in August 2017 promoting his book Radio Boy.

BBC Radio 5 Live[edit]

On 7 August 2004, O'Connell became the second person to host the BBC Radio 5 Live show Fighting Talk, following the departure of Johnny Vaughan. It was his first outing on national radio (his XFM show was broadcast only in London) and he completed 16 months presenting the show before leaving to focus on his new breakfast show at Absolute Radio. The show won a Gold award at the 24th Sony Radio Academy Awards, with O'Connell accredited as the presenter. O'Connell returned to the FT presenter's chair on 12 January 2013, filling in for his successor (and current host) Colin Murray.

O'Connell returned to Radio 5 Live on Sunday mornings from September 2009, presenting The Christian O'Connell Solution, alongside comedian Bob Mills, as well as two guests. The hour-long show sees the panel provide comedic solutions to various stories appearing in the week's news. From 10 January 2010 it was replaced by 7 Day Sunday.

From January 2011, he presented the Saturday morning 9:00–11:00 on Radio 5 Live, standing in for Danny Baker.[5]

Awards[edit]

The UK’s most awarded Radio Dj with a record breaking 11 Sony Gold Awards

List of Awards[edit]

  • 2003 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Best UK Breakfast Show of The Year
  • 2004 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for UK DJ of The Year [6]
  • 2005 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Entertainment Award [7]
  • 2005 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for National Breakfast Show of the Year [8]
  • 2005 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award For Best Competition
  • 2006 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Sports Programme (Fighting Talk) [9]
  • 2007 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for a Competition (Who’s Calling Christian?) [10]
  • 2010 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Competition (Who's Calling Christian) [11]
  • 2011 The Arqiva/Triple A Media Commercial Radio National Breakfast Show of the Year [12]
  • 2013 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award Music Radio Personality of The Year
  • 2013 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award Best Use of Branded Content
  • 2013 Commercial Radio Roll of Honour Award 2013 Celebrating 40 years of commercial radio. Award for one of the industry’s most significant talents
  • 2014 Sony Radio Academy Award Gold Best Use of Branded Content
  • 2014 Youngest Ever DJ Inducted into the UK Radio Academy Hall of Fame 
  • 2014 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards National Presenter of The Year
  • 2014 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards Gold Winner Best UK National Breakfast show of The Year
  • 2014 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards Gold Winner Best Feature Award the 40 List
  • 2014 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards Gold Special Achievement Award
  • 2016 Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards Gold Winner Best UK National Breakfast Show

Television career[edit]

O'Connell has appeared as a guest on a BBC2 sports show with Dickie Davies as one of the fellow guests. In 2003, Christian replaced Chris Moyles on Channel 5's Live With... show and went on to present trivia show "Pub Ammo" in 2004 on the same channel. In 2005 he also appeared on BBC2's Eggheads quiz show with Chris Smith, Roque Segade-Vieito and an Xfm listener as the other panelists on his (losing) team. He has also narrated Channel 4's Rock School.

In May 2006, O'Connell will fronted Sunday Service; a Chris Evans style Sunday evening show on Sky One. In June 2006, O'Connell started his own world cup show, World Cuppa on ITV4.

In November 2006, he appeared on the BBC TV gameshow The Weakest Link. The show, recorded in early November, was shown at Christmas 2006. O'Connell admitted on his breakfast show that he went out in the 3rd round after being voted off by his fellow contestants. He blames this on his ridiculous answer to the question "Which has more legs than the other? A dog or a duck?" O'Connell answered "Neither, it's a trick question, they have the same". O'Connell appeared as a guest in a September 2008 episode of Loose Women and Ready Steady Cook to promote his book, and was reminded of his previous Weakest Link ordeal by Zoe Tyler. He later appeared a second time on a Radio DJ special in mid-2009, but fared much better, being voted off in Round 7. In February 2010, O'Connell appeared as a presenter, commentator and interviewer for the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA), in a similar role to the UFC's Joe Rogan. He then went on to host BT Sports Beyond the Octagon.

He has appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcoks, 5th Gear, MTV Countdown, Pointless, Win Lose or Draw

O'Connell was the inspiration behind the character Jed Maxwell, the crazed fan in an episode of I'm Alan Partridge.[13]

On 18 January 2015, O'Connell hosted An Evening with Top Gear live on the official Top Gear YouTube channel where he interviewed James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson about their upcoming 22nd series of the show.

Personal and family[edit]

O'Connell originally came from Winchester. He attended the Henry Beaufort School and then Peter Symonds College before studying at Nottingham Trent University. He supports Premier League football side Southampton F.C..

He now lives in Dorking, Surrey; with his wife and children.

References[edit]

External links[edit]