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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Timeline: Chris Evans and Virgin
Chris Evans
Chris Evans was once Virgin's biggest asset
BBC News Online looks at the turbulent relationship between broadcaster Chris Evans, Virgin Radio and the Scottish Media Group (SMG).


  • Evans first joins Virgin.

  • In 1993, the station was owned by Sir Richard Branson and Evans was hired as a presenter on a 13-week contract.

  • But just six weeks later, Evans walked out. He went on to concentrate on his hit TV show Don't Forget Your Toothbrush.


  • Evans moves to the BBC.

  • Evans won a contract to present BBC Radio 1's flagship breakfast show and soon became a national sensation.

  • Listeners tuned in to hear his novel anarchic show, which was largely responsible for beginning a fashion for "group" shows, where the presenter is joined by his "mates".


  • Evans moves back to Virgin.

  • In January 1997, Evans left BBC Radio 1, telling his bosses he had run out of ideas. His demands to work only only four days a week had also been refused.

  • In September, Virgin Radio signed up Evans' company, Ginger Radio, to present the breakfast show four days a week.

  • But Evans worked five days, and sometimes six, using the same team he had known at BBC Radio 1.

  • Evans was an instant hit and Virgin Radio saw a big boost in listeners, advertising, and profile.

  • Evans was nationally hailed as a creative genius. The Times, for example, described him as "a brilliant broadcaster who has elevated inanity almost to an art form".


  • Evans takes over Virgin.

  • By the start of 1998, things could not have looked better for Evans.

  • Audience figures were at an all-time high. More significantly, Evans was in charge.

  • In December 1997, just weeks after joining Virgin Radio, Evans had bought the station from Sir Richard in a 83m deal.

  • Part of the deal involved Evans signing up to the station as a presenter on a long-term contract.


  • Evans sells Virgin to SMG.

  • Evans sold Virgin Radio, along with his production company Ginger, for 225m.

  • As presenter of Virgin Radio's top-rating breakfast show, Evans was Virgin's biggest asset and rock and took home a salary of 1.7m.


  • Evans and Virgin fall out.

  • In early 2001, relations between Evans and the Virgin management were turning sour.

  • By June of that year, Evans and Virgin had parted company. Evans was fired after failing to turn up for work five days in a row.

  • He said he was ill, but was pictured at a pub with his now-wife Billie Piper during his leave.

  • Evans sued SMG for 8.6m worth of SMG share options owed to him as a result of Virgin's sale. SMG counter-sued, alleging breach of contract.


  • The court case begins.

  • In March 2003, several weeks of legal argument between representatives for Evans and SMG began at London's High Court.

  • The case came to end at the start of May but the judgment remains reserved.

  • 26 June, Evans lost his claim and High Court judge, Mr Justice Lightman, also ruled that SMG were entitled to damages, which would be decided at a later hearing.

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