Radio 1 presenter Greg James on triathlons, Tokyo and his hero Terry Wogan

by John Koski


Guilty pleasure? Mowing the lawn at my parents’ house in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire. It’s not exactly guilty, but it is a pleasure that I find relaxing.


Where is home? A flat with a roof terrace which my sister found for me in the City of London. The area reminds me of the opening credits of BBC One’s The Apprentice.


Career plan B? Ideally a cricketer – but if I wasn’t good enough, then a brilliant groundsman.


Who would play you in a movie of your life? Bill Murray, my favourite actor.


Biggest bugbear? People who are early. I’d rather they arrived ten minutes late than ten minutes too soon.


As a child you wanted to be… On the radio or acting in a comedy – Ricky Gervais did both when I was growing up and he’s who I wanted to be.


Secret to a happy relationship? Being a team of two against the world and making each other laugh.


Your best quality? I worry about the people close to me and check up on them all the time.


And your worst? I’m bad at prioritising life’s admin – I’m always getting into trouble over unpaid bills.


Last meal on earth? A pizza, preferably at a restaurant in the centre of Florence in Italy.


Dream dinner-party guests? Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, my radio hero Terry Wogan and Michael Palin.


Cat or dog? I’m 100 per cent a dog person. Cats tend to be fairly solitary, whereas a relationship with a dog feels more balanced – they need you and you need them.


Starstruck moment? Michael Palin turning up as a surprise guest on my show a couple of years ago. He is my number-one inspiration and I couldn’t speak for about two minutes, then blurted out everything I wanted to say in about ten seconds.


Big break? Covering for Sara Cox on her Radio 1 weekend show when she was unwell. That was a decade ago and led to me getting my own show.


Career highlight? Doing five triathlons in five days for a Sport Relief challenge last year, which raised £1 million for Syrian refugees in Jordan.


Favourite tipple? A Japanese whisky called Nikka.


Hangover cure? Marmite on toast.


Top of your bucket list? To write a successful comedy for TV or radio.


Secret skill? I’m a qualified racing driver.


Philosophy? Everything that happens to you, good and bad, is supposed to happen.


Last film that made you cry? I, Daniel Blake, which I watched on a plane – although I think the altitude affects your emotions.


Where would you time-travel to? The late 1960s and early 70s, when the Beatles and Monty Python were around.


Your first record? Step One by Steps, which my mum got for me as a promotional freebie. I didn’t like it.


Biggest fear? My parents not being around.


Celebrity crush? The actor Chris Pratt [from Guardians of the Galaxy and US sitcom Parks and Recreation] and wrestler and actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who I recently did a documentary on for Radio 1. I would like to be best friends with both of them.

Happiness is… Sitting on my own in a bar in Tokyo, reading a book and drinking whisky.


Greg’s children’s book Kid Normal, co-written with Radio 1 newsreader Chris Smith, is published by Bloomsbury Children’s, price £6.99. To order a copy for £5.24 until 6 August, visit or call 0844 571 0640; free p&p on orders over £15