Some people believe Howard Stern was at his funniest during the breakdown of his marriage and his eventual divorce. As their marriage was breaking down, Stern used to make on-air comments he knew would infuriate his wife Allison; she would call The Howard Stern Show to complain, and they would have very real arguments on the air.
BBC Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn, a man both loved and mocked for his innate cheesiness, reacted badly when his wife walked out on him in the early 1970's. He famously locked his producer out of the studio and repeatedly played Bobby Goldsboro's Honey over and again to a bemused British listenership, saying nothing and sitting there in deep personal gloom until his prime-time show was taken off the air. This was famously parodied by Harry Enfield and The Fast Show's Paul Whitehouse, in their creation of over-the-top disc jockeys "Smashey and Nicey".
Another BBC radio presenter who had frequent crises on air was Radio Two's very early morning presenter Sarah Kennedy. She became so renowned for her gaffes and other eccentricities that people used to get up deliberately early in the hope they'd catch a Kennedy classic. On one occasion, her severely slurred voice, constant confused repetition, and a rambling nonsequeterial speech trailing into nothing, suggested to listeners that something was severely amiss. She was taken off air and a stand-in presenter was hastily brought in. This was put down to a combination of sleep deprivation and prescription medication, but some unkind people suggested other more liquid medication was at work. Indeed, Sir Terry Wogan, who presented the following show, once quipped that "Sarah's been pouring the old gin over her cornflakes again". Sarah was also guilty of ill-judged racially-based jokes of a sort that would have gone unremarked in the Britain of thirty or forty years ago, but which were definitely politically incorrect in the late 2000's. She no longer works for the BBC.
Goon Show creator and principal scriptwriter Spike Milligan completely flipped under the strain of writing, virtually solo, the fourth-wall-breaking radio comedy that was so far ahead of its time it dominated the shape of British comedy for the following thirty years. Under the additional strain of discovering a spendthrift wife had blown all his cash and was now suing for divorce, Milligan's wartime trauma and recurring PTSD flipped over into outright psychosis. Convinced his best friend was cheating him, he went round to Peter Sellers with a loaded pistol, vowing to shoot him. Following the subsequent struggle, Milligan was carted off to the loony bin by the police. Other British comedy luminaries such as Eric Sykes and Dick Emery took over writing and performing the Goon Show, until he was better. Peter Sellers is said to have born no grudge but was deeply affected by the attempted murder.
One episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series was written while he was very annoyed about the number of shoe shops in Oxford Street and the impossibility of finding a pair he liked in any of them. The episode is largely about the economic concept of the Shoe Event Horizon, beyond which it becomes impossible for any aspiring businessman to open a shop that sells anything other than ill-fitting shoes, causing the collapse of a planet's entire economy. A much shorter version of the rant appeared in the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; the Corrupt Corporate Executive Hig Hurtenflurst, who represents a thinly-disguised version of the British Shoe Corporation, does not.
Another episode featured a space flight delayed for nine hundred years waiting to be supplied with lemon-soaked paper napkins by a civilization that no longer exists. This was based on a flight Adams took from London to Leeds, which was delayed half an hour because they had forgotten to load drinks onto the plane.
Even the series' famous fixation with towels came to exist because of one of these: Adams forgot his own towel while he was on a vacation in Greece.
Forget the towels, the entire series owes its existence to a Creator Breakdown - the reason Adams decided to write a radio series in which the Earth explodes was because he was feeling fed up with the world at that point. In fact, originally the series was just going to be an anthology documenting different ways in which the world would end.