Jonathan Coleman has become a big player in UK radio, but how long his
popularity lasts could well depend on whether word filters through to
London about his less-than-flattering assessments of his celebrity
interviewees at a commercial radio conference in Sydney last week.

The former Simon Townsend’s Wonder World
star might be a big kahuna on BBC London 94.9FM but he also relies
heavily on the patronage of celebrities. So it was surprising to see
him make some amusingly bitchy remarks about people who’ve been on his
show.

“There
are great guests and not-so-great guests. Some are great live, some are
absolutely crap live,” he said. In the latter category, Coleman
nominated Meatloaf, who he said started the interview great, “but then you
just couldn’t get rid of him.”

“Meatloaf was on my show for over
an hour and then when I finished that show he was going to stay on for
the next show, until security came up,” Coleman said. He also recalled
an interview with Billy Idol that he did in his Triple-M Sydney days
with co-host Ian Rogerson on the “Jono and Dano Show.”

“He
scared the sh*t out of both of us,” Coleman said. “He turned up drunk –
lucky it was a pre-recorded interview – and he’d had some bad press in
a Rupert Murdoch newspaper. For the first 15 minutes he was going
‘Rupert Murdoch, he’s a child killer, he murders people, Rupert
Murderoch’.”

“I guess one of the hardest interviews to get at
the moment would be Kate Moss because you’d have to go to the Priory
Clinic or nip over for a bit of rehab,” Coleman quipped. “One person I
once worked with said that the best way to get the great interviews is
to go to rehab.”

“But.. they usually take your microphone or your tape machine away from you as you’re going through the front doors at rehab.”

Coleman
nominated Hugh Grant as one of the worst people to interview, pointing
to a photograph with him where the pair were both sporting a frown. “It
was amazing, it was like one day at the Dorchester. In one room it was
Pierce Brosnan talking about his movie and he was a dream,” he said.
“But the difference between someone like Pierce Brosnan and a Hugh
Grant is that Hugh, you go into a room somewhere and he’s slouched in a
chair, he doesn’t want to be there.”

“And all the interviews… it
was all slouchy Hugh going ‘Oh I don’t know, I’ve really had it, I
think this is going to be my last movie, I just don’t like doing them’.”

Coleman
offered plenty of handy advice for radio types, including the need to
match your personality to that of your subject. “When I’m interviewing
Elton (John), I become more gay,” he said. “For Meatloaf, I become more
fat. For Billy Idol, I just become ‘More’.”

Peter Fray

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