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Christian O'Connell

Christian O'Connell
O'Connell in August 2007
Born Christian Liam O'Connell
(1973-04-07) 7 April 1973
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, who presents the The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio weekday mornings. He makes use of irreverent features and sometimes mocks the music that he plays. He is well known for his frequent discussions of embarrassing real life situations, often discussing the gender differences between men and women, and what the role of the man should be in a given situation. In September 2008 he published a book The Men Commandments to this effect.


  • Early career 1
  • Notable radio guests 2
    • Steven Seagal 2.1
    • Liam Gallagher 2.2
    • Tony Blair 2.3
    • David Tennant 2.4
    • Jimmy Nesbitt 2.5
    • David Cameron 2.6
    • Hamish and Andy 2.7
    • BBC Radio 5 Live 2.8
  • Awards 3
  • Television career 4
  • Personal and family 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early career

O'Connell started out on 2CR Radio in Bournemouth in 1999. 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 2004-2005 but will return to the show as one of 3 presenters from 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. O'Connell joined the Virgin Radio team making his first broadcast on 23 January 2006.

Notable radio guests

Steven Seagal

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

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.

Tony Blair

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.

David Tennant

Actor David Tennant, a regular on the show and a friend of O'Connell, has been involved in some of the show's 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.

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.

Jimmy Nesbitt

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

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

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.

BBC Radio 5 Live

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]


  • 2004 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for DJ of the Year.[6]
  • 2004 Sony Radio Academy Silver Award for Breakfast Show of the Year.[7]
  • 2005 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Entertainment.[8]
  • 2005 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Breakfast Show of the Year.[9]
  • 2006 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Sports Programme (Fighting Talk).[10]
  • 2007 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for a Competition (Who’s Calling Christian?).[11]
  • 2010 Sony Radio Academy Bronze Award for Music Radio Personality of the Year.[12]
  • 2010 Sony Radio Academy Bronze Award for Best Use of Branded Content (One Last Dream).[13]
  • 2010 Sony Radio Academy Gold Award for Best Competition (Who's Calling Christian)[14]
  • 2011 Sony Radio Academy Bronze Award for Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus).[15]
  • 2011 The Arqiva/Triple A Media Commercial Radio Breakfast Show of the Year.[16]
  • 2012 Sony Radio Academy Silver Award for Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus).[17]
  • 2012 Sony Radio Academy Bronze Award for Music Radio Personality of the Year.[18]
  • 2012 Sony Radio Academy Silver for Best Competition (The Early Morning Game).[19]

Television career

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, it was announced that O'Connell will front 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.

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

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

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 Barclays Premier League football side Southampton F.C..

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


  1. ^ "My Secret Life Christian O'Connell, DJ". The Independent. 6 October 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Radio ga ga".  
  3. ^ Plunkett, John (6 September 2007). "O'Connell signs new Virgin Radio deal".  
  4. ^ "David Cameron apologises for Twitter radio swearing gaffe".  
  5. ^ BBC Radio 5 live - Christian O'Connell, 15/01/2011
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2010 - Personality Awards - Music Radio Personality of the Year
  13. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2010 - On-Air Marketing Awards - Best Use of Branded Content
  14. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2010 - On-Air Marketing Awards - Best Competition
  15. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2011 - Programme Awards - Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus)
  16. ^ The Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards 2011 Winners
  17. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2012 | Programme Awards | Breakfast Show of the Year (10 million plus)
  18. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2012 | People Awards | Music Radio Personality of the Year
  19. ^ Sony Radio Academy Awards | Winners | 2012 | On-Air Marketing Awards | Best Competition

External links

  • Christian O'Connell at the Internet Movie Database
  • Christian's profile at
  • The Breakfast -
  • Christian O'Connell interviewed From London's Evening Standard (May 2003)
  • Press Gazette interview (January 2006)
  • Interview with 'The Independent' (May 2006)
  • Sept 2008The Men Commandments,Christian's first book,
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