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From interviewing the Royals to reading jokes for 24 hours: Scott and Chris dish on their 2017 highlights

From Liam Payne reading messages from Scott's Perv Pad to Chris DJing from the toilets at Radio 1 in Ibiza, it's been one hell of a year for Scott Mills and Chris Stark.

We caught up with the guys in charge of entertaining you from 1pm 'til 4pm every weekday (put it in your diary, stat) and talked all things interview nerves, Innuendo Bingo and inviting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to their studio. Casual.

First things first, are you surprised that celebs are so willing to come in and get spat on?

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Scott: Yeah, actually. I think what's helped is that we managed to bag a few Hollywood people doing it and then you show everyone else and they're like "oh, but so-and-so's done it!".

Innuendo Bingo is quite a tough sell for our producer, it's like "so you're going to come in and Chris is going to spit on you a lot"
Scott Mills

I think we had Gerard Butler in - he was the first Hollywood [star] we had in - and that kind of really escalated it. It's quite a tough sell for our producer, it's like "so you're going to come in and Chris is going to spit on you a lot".

Chris: I think it's now deemed to be a badge of honour. It's quite funny, we'll go DJ in places and people will want us to spit on them, even though there's no context to it or there's no Innuendo Bingo going on.

So I think the feature itself has become so well established and so well known because it never used to be this way either. Back in the day, if a tiny bit of water landed on your knee it was the most controversial thing of all.

You've had a LOT of stars on Innuendo Bingo. Who were you most excited about?

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Chris: Will Ferrell! Gerard Butler did it, I believe, because he was a fan of the show - or at least he said he was. Will Ferrell came in and they'd been told about innuendo bingo but it came down to doing it and I think there was someone, some PR person, kind of saying "well, we shouldn't go too far with this, we shouldn't be spitting on him" and things like that. And he was so cool because he was like "look, we either do it properly or we don't do it at all".

Scott: There were loads of PR people going "nobody spits on Will Ferrell!" and he was like "look, I'm in here now. So do we do it or not?"

Chris: And then he did it and I thought that was the coolest thing because it would've been so easy to say no. And he wanted to do it.

You guys have met Will Ferrell a few times...

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Scott: When Will came in last time he, for some reason, took a printer cartridge from the printer, went through the office, went to some random person's desk and went "I hear you've been looking for this" and put it down. In the reception at Radio 1 they've got DJ cards with all the photos of the DJs on, he took one of mine away with him. I was like "why are you doing that?" and he said "I just want to keep it". He's just weird but he's exactly the same as the films.

He's one of those people who've got funny bones. You could just look at him and laugh.

Chris: He's so funny and enthusiastic and positive about doing stuff. It would be so easy for someone in his position to not have a laugh and be a bit precious about it but he is, as Scott said, exactly the same.

And this year you had the Royals - Kate and Wills - swing by the studio! How was that?

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Scott: We knew about it like two weeks before and weren't allowed to tell a soul outside of this studio. Obviously Adele Roberts, who they were coming in to see, didn't know either so we had to keep that from her.

Prince William turned to me and said "it's good to see Watford doing so well"
Chris Stark

And [their visit] was literally minute by minute - no, second by second. We had this schedule, let's say it was like "they will arrive in the building at 4.10 and 12 seconds" and that happened. "They will arrive in the studio at 4.17 and 23 seconds" and that happened. It's literally to the second. It's mad.

What I also found mad was when we were playing songs and talking off air, Prince William was like "yeah, I listen to Innuendo Bingo and I also donated to the LOL-a-THON that you did" and I can't get my head around that.

Chris: He turned to me and said "it's good to see Watford doing so well". Later that night I was in the pub and the 6 o'clock news came on and the interview was being shown. And for me it was something that transcended even Radio 1. As big as that is. It was worldwide. It was world news.

Scott: I was walking past a shop that had CNN on and it was on there and I was like "this is mad".

Chris: It's crazy to think that it comes from this studio. Occasionally there are moments, and it's happened this year, and it just makes you think that genuinely the whole world is listening to it.

Right at the beginning of this year, Ed Sheeran came back from a year off and we were doing the Breakfast Show and Ed came on and did the whole show. There was so much to find out about and there was so much excitement for this interview that it was another show where it felt like it was just huge.

Do you ever get interview jitters?

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Scott: Yeah! The Royals was next level. With something like the Ed Sheeran [interview], obviously I knew it was going to happen, I knew he was coming in, I knew how long for and I knew what I wanted to get out of him, so you don't sleep much the night before.

Chris: You don't want regrets. You don't want to miss something. Because we're very good, I think, on this show of thinking of good ideas and questions and getting that interesting angle, we'd hate it if we missed something. The Royals was one of the most nerve-wracking things for me... But it was really fun, don't get me wrong.

Let's talk LOL-a-THON! Was it hard staying on form for 24 hours?

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Scott: It was one of the best things, if not the best thing, that I've ever done at Radio 1.

I really crashed and I remember going to the lifts and going up and down six times just to get out of this room because I was going mad
Scott Mills

On paper the idea of telling jokes for 24 hours, I was saying "I don't think this is a very good idea and I'm not sure we should do it"... and we were like "this is a quite hard proposition for listeners, we're gonna tell jokes for a day and a night?". But as soon as we went on air, within 20 minutes, I had a really good feeling about it. It worked.

Chris: There was a dark point but, without that, it doesn't make it - it was an endurance thing and it was fun and it was funny for such a long period of time. People bought into the fact that it was a long time and it was hard to keep up and people bought into that.

Scott: There was one moment, I think it was at 4am... At that point I really crashed and I remember going to the lifts and going up and down six times just to get out of this room because I was going mad.

Scott, you played a big part in My Mind & Me this year...

Scott: What I think has been interesting generally about 2017, probably led by the Royals, is that people more than ever are talking about mental health in a way that you've never heard before.

It feels like people are less afraid to say about it. It feels that the stigma is getting less. I think that what Radio 1 has done this year has been some of the most honest stuff that I've heard about mental health and I think we've done a really good job of it.

I think that if you are a show like this, which is pretty much 99% laughing and joking and fluffy and fun, if you stop and go "actually this is important" it makes more of an impact because everything is always silly.

What have been your 2017 highlights?

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Scott: I have to say that I think this year has been one of our best years on air. A lot of stuff has happened: the Royals, the Ed Sheeran thing, the LOL-a-THON. A lot of things have happened for us that I think I will look back at my whole time on Radio 1 and go "that was one of the best". So I actually think it's been probably our best year by far.

I have to say that I think this year has been one of our best years on air.
Scott Mills

Chris: There were two major highs in the LOL-a-THON for me. One was where I laughed so hard and it was like that feeling of completely losing it, which is mad that you can feel like that and feel so free [on air].

And then when the total [money raised] was said. That was kind of a very proud moment because it had been a huge team effort and every show had helped boost this total.

Scott: I think the fact that in all the time I've done Radio I've never been allowed the freedom of what that late night LOL-a-THON was. I was quite shocked by what we were allowed to get away with.

It felt like the most honest you could be on the radio, and I've never had that before. So yeah, that will never leave my mind because I've never been able to push it that much.

Listen to Scott and Chris on Radio 1 every weekday from 1pm.

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