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Music Interview

Jameela Jamil talks Radio 1 Chart Show: 'It's just like football'

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Jameela Jamil

© BBC


From Tony Blackburn to Mark Goodier, Radio 1's Official Chart show has over the years turned mere presenters into icons.

Now comes the turn of former T4 host Jameela Jamil, who will be passed the baton from its current anchor Reggie Yates this Sunday.

Digital Spy met up with the star to test her chart knowledge and find out how she's planning to make her mark on the show.

Hello Jameela! Congrats on the new job and all that.
"Thanks!"

Going back to when you were first told that you'd got it, was it a complete shock or something you had been eyeing up for a while?
"Honestly, a complete shock. I genuinely thought they'd called me in to fire me. I was sitting outside the head's office with a box of chips - comfort eating in advance - and instead he told me he wanted to try me out for the charts."

What, so they didn't just give you the job straight away?
"Oh no, they put you through a rigorous audition process first. They make you earn it. It's like Hunger Games out there - I had to kill several people to win this job."

So what happened when you actually got the job?
"I fell off my chair and split my knee open."

Very gracious, then.
"I was about to sit down as they told me and I missed the chair completely. I still have the scar!"

Hosting the Chart Show is a big deal. Was it something you'd once dreamed of doing?
"I never really expected to be within this industry. I was very shy, geeky, academic and chubby when I was younger. I was lost in a world of books. It was when the television work started going well that I was keen to branch into radio. It's always been a staple in my life - Annie Nightingale basically brought me up."

Did you feel any backlash online when the news was announced?
"The odd person on Twitter did decide to take their problems out on me that day. The worst is when someone says something rude and they '@' you so you can see it. Who does that? Someone said that I got a job on radio based on my dress sense - surely that's the one thing that doesn't count for radio?! I know I'm like Marmite though - I'm brown and only some people like me."

You're currently hosting Radio 1's request show; will you miss it?
"So much - there are 4-year-old girls who rap on my show! I won't miss how difficult they can be to speak to, though. That was a real challenge of it. I'll miss playing such a bizarre range of music as well. How many radio shows get to play Shaggy, Backstreet Boys, R Kelly and The Strokes in the same slot? It was great to be so connected with the general public."

Jameela Jamil

© BBC



The Chart Show is still connected with the public though, or at least with those who buy music.
"Absolutely, it's the people's show. It's just like football - there are groups of people supporting certain teams and willing them up the charts. I love a good chart battle."

There haven't been many good chart battles lately, have there?
"There hasn't really, has there? I've always been a big supporter of the chart though. That doesn't mean I've always liked what's on it, but it isn't my place to have opinion on the show. If I play a number one single and say it's s**t then I'm basically insulting the audience's taste in music."

Especially if the act behind the number one single is a guest on the show...
"I might get to Skype Beyoncé or even touch her arm if she goes to number one this year. Can you imagine? That is insane to me! She's the only reason I got into this industry. I need to meet her. This whole thing was just an elaborate ruse to meet Beyoncé!"

Because of the nature of the show, it's going to be quite hard to put your mark on it, isn't it?
"Thankfully they're changing it slightly and tailoring it more to my personality. They'll be more interviews and features throughout, but not so many that it takes away the point of the show."

A lot of people have been moaning lately that there are very few good songs in the chart...
"The way I see it, if a s**t song is number one then it's because you didn't buy enough of a good one. It feels like live and acoustic music has made a huge comeback in its own way anyway. It feels like credible artists are back. I think we've all been a bit GaGa-ed out - for a while it was gimmick vs. talent. Lady GaGa is very talented, but she started becoming more known for her antics, which I think for the industry was very depressing."

You're also the first woman to front the Chart Show solo; what's taken Radio 1 so long?
"It's very exciting. I know it shouldn't be a big deal, but there's also a huge lack of ethnic minorities in showbiz. I'm completely Asian - not mix - and I'm so proud to be such a big part of Radio 1. I actually can't wait to get started now!"

Jameela Jamil presents The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1, Sundays, 4-7pm from Sunday 13th January 2013. Watch at bbc.co.uk/radio1 between 6-7pm.

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