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August 25, 2002
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Once the “Golden Boy” of broadcasting, Chris Evans is returning to the fore after a year’s hiatus with the determination to reinvent himself as nothing less than the saviour of British television.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival on Sunday, the 36-year-old former TFI Friday host says he is giving up presenting to concentrate on developing a series of shows for Channel Four and Channel Five. Chris is also considering buying a £200 million (35 per cent) stake in the latter.

Chris, who disappeared into broadcasting obscurity after being sacked from his last job at Virgin Radio in June 2001, told the audience of television executives that he had spent time with his 19-year-old pop star wife Billie Piper, getting back to nature and recharging his batteries.

“What I did first of all was plant vegetables and go back to nature at our country cottage,” he said. “It was just getting away from everything and back to something natural. Billie had a hard time in the record industry. We needed to get away and I thought we’d never come back.”

After that, the couple moved to Portugal for a few weeks before settling in Los Angeles, where Chris says he “fell back in love” with television. He added that from now on his career would place him firmly behind – rather than in front of – the camera. “I tried to do both. It doesn’t work.”

He has signed a deal to produce two new entertainment shows for Channel Five – a daily entertainment chat hosted by DJ Chris Moyles, beginning in September, and a daytime show fronted by Gaby Roslin – and a Channel Four Saturday night show called Boys And Girls. He also said there was the possibility of doing a show with long-time broadcaster Terry Wogan, “subject to negotiation”.

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Photo: ©
Speaking publicly for the first time since he was sacked from Virgin Radio in June 2001, Chris said he was giving up presenting to concentrate on developing shows for Channel Four and Channel Five
Photo: ©
Chris revolutionised radio broadcasting in the early-1990s with his anarchic brand of humour, and made his mark in television as the first presenter of Channel Four's The Big Breakfast

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