Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hobbs's Choice; Wheels: DJ Mary Anne Hobbs Fronts the Bike Show to End All Bike Shows, Says Emma Rigby

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hobbs's Choice; Wheels: DJ Mary Anne Hobbs Fronts the Bike Show to End All Bike Shows, Says Emma Rigby

Article excerpt

Byline: EMMA RIGBY

RADIO 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbs has the attitude and mouth to match the hard-hitting rock music she blasts out over the airwaves every Tuesday night.

She is also a motorcycle fiend. So when BBC controller Stuart Murphy needed someone to front an international series about bike culture, Hobbs was the natural choice.

Before filming started, Hobbs thought she'd done it all. After all, as a mopedriding teenager, she was there at the first bloody punch-ups between bikers and scooter boys. For jaded teenagers in a Lancashire village, identity was everything."You picked a corner and you picked your tribe," she says. "It was massive, full-scale warfare.

"You had to be seen to be pretty hard back then: there was the music, the vehicles, the look and the clothes. We all wore ripped-up jeans and black leather jackets: we were old-school, greasy-fingers, proper bikers."

But by the time filming the series had finished, Hobbs conceded that the American bikers that will soon be tearing across our TV screens "were so hardcore they made us look like a nation of Les Dennises".

As a feisty 19-year-old, Hobbs slung in the job she took on leaving school (packing eggs), to live on a bus for a year with Heritage, a London rock band. Then she got a job on Sounds, her dream music paper. At 21, she went to Hollywood (as Sounds' LA correspondent), with just over [pound]400 in her pocket.

The first thing she did was to buy a 250cc Yamaha, proceeding to "tart around on it, in just my bikini with my hair flowing - no helmet or anything".

Its understandable then, that when the BBC offered her the job of interviewing 72 of the most bizarre motorcycle groups across the planet, she couldn't resist the chance to live out her passion for biking.

"It was like opening a Willy Wonka chocolate bar and finding a golden ticket," she says. "The year we took to make the series was like a mad moment in youth, a mental summer that at my age (she's 37), you don't think you'll ever see again. …

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