A BITTER row broke out yesterday between BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Chris Evans and Tom Morton, his current colleague in the Highlands.

Just minutes after the ginger-haired presenter finished his breakfast show, he was lambasted from the next door studio in Inverness, live on Radio Scotland.

Tom Morton, talking about the programme with seven-and-a-half million listeners, said: ``Frankly, I do not like the show one little bit. I find it patronising.''

Evans, 30, was asked to appear on Morton's show yesterday but cancelled because he said he had to meet a financial adviser.

Earlier, Morton had said (not on-air) that staff at the BBC were describing Evans as the ``alien'' and how attractive female staff, and even a 17-year-old guest, had been asked out during his stay in the Highland capital.

Morton told Ruth Wishart, presenter of the mid-morning show on Radio Scotland, that workers at the BBC in Inverness were coping ``relatively well, given the endless lager-lout posturing, the willie waving demands for `tartan tottie', and the patronising references to clockwork studios, strange accents, and local sexual habits involving sheep''.

Morton also criticised Evans's ``continual, needless, and unfunny attacks on Tich McCooey of Moray Firth Radio''.

He warned Evans that rival McCooey had many friends in the area and not to go out into ``Inverness's frequently violent nightlife'' without bodyguards.

In an attack on Evans's professionalism, Morton said his show seems to have ``all the production, preparation, and indeed thought of the average discussion in a football social club''.

He described it as ``tasteless and silly while the barbed, often offensive humour surfaces only rarely like broken glass on a polluted beach''.

Morton's outburst has come at a time when ``Highland hospitality'' appears, in some quarters, to be disappearing.

Tich McCooey's fan club, run by Elaine Mearns, has already started a petition in protest about Evans's remarks about its idol.

Now a Highlands and Islands Campaign to Repatriate Chris Evans has been launched at a site on the Internet provider Compuserve.

The campaign page says it wants Evans and his crew to go back to London and leave the Highland people alone.

The literature even offers to pay #50 and provide transportation for his team, a gimmick pulled by Evans on his first day in the Highlands.

It asks Internet users in Britain to join the HICRCE campaign by using e-mail number 100114.1650compuserve.

Several complaints about Evans's ``patronising'' presenting style have been made by listeners to this week's shows at the BBC in both Glasgow and London.

Meanwhile, Evans was lobster fishing in the Moray Firth yesterday with the chef from the Golf View Hotel in Nairn, where he has been staying since arriving in the Highlands on Sunday night.

Yesterdayk, Tich McCooey interviewed Evans's former girlfriend, popstar Kim Wilde, daughter of 60s singer Marti Wilde.

McCooey refused to be drawn into the row but Wilde said she now found Evans a bit of a yawn. She said: ``I never listen to the show. I am usually sleeping while he is on.''

Afterwards, McCooey, 40, who was broadcasting from London, said: ``I am not going to bring myself down to his level.''

Tonight, Evans will put in a personal appearance as a judge at a ``Tartan Tottie'' competition at the Carnegie Hall, Clashmore, near Dornoch.