Glenn Wheatley, former member of The Master’s Apprentices, manager of John Farnham and former manager of Delta, diddled his taxes. For some reason the media thought that warranted tailing the “celebrity tax cheat” OJ style. Seven cars and three helicopters tailed Wheatley and his wife and son yesterday on the three hour journey from Beechworth minimum security prison to their”luxury mansion” in South Yarra. If only it were as interesting as a frenzied double stabbing murder.  Today‘s up to the minute reporting set the scene for a day of reports on “the media circus”, Glenn’s “luxury mansion” and how electronic anklets work. Here’s footage as-it-happened of the black BMW waiting for a red light:

“He is a bit of a way from home yet,” Channel Nine’s Tom Steinfort told Today.

They actually took an unexpected diversion…I think they’ve been a  bit thrown by all the media attention following them from Beechworth…they’re just coming through to Carlton and heading to South Yarra as we speak…it’s quite the circus. …We were just discussing the fact that they’ve gone a rather unusual way to South Yarra.

Heady stuff. Today then crossed “from one media pack to another not too far away….Where are you Martine?”

Martine: “Lisa I’m standing in the driveway that we’re expecting Glenn Wheatley to drive through very shortly. And let me tell you I’m joined by a huge contingent from Melbourne’s media. As you can see we’ve got snappers, we’ve got TV cameras and we’ve got newspaper journalists, everyone here anxiously waiting for the arrival of Glenn.” Karl Stefanovic: “Any idea of an ETA for him? Martine: “We’re just waiting for news from Tom Steinfort actually…because as you heard he has taken a detour.”

Apparently through Carlton, Martine.

Martine: “We know that there’s a PR representative inside the house who suggested that Glenn Wheatley and his wife Gaynor might actually do a bit of a wave from their balcony just up behind us so it will certainly be an interesting, interesting day.”

Indeed, Martine.

Lisa Wilkinson: “Have you seen any eyes peering through the venetians Martine?” Martine: “No, no eyes, we’ve seen a light go off but I think that might have been the PR representative.”

That mysterious “PR representative” has been pretty busy, and not just saving electricity.  Glenn may be forbidden from speaking to the media, but wife Gaynor with PR person in tow has been busy courting the circus in a bid to restore her husband’s reputation:

Channel Ten provided a snip of Gaynor Wheatley’s presser later that day: 

It’s been horrific for us all. But he did the wrong thing, he copped it on the chin. He is doing his time and he’s still got time to do.

 Finally, a journo asked the hard question:

Journalist: “Has he requested a special first dinner home? Gaynor: “He has. Roast lemon chicken.”

“The Justice Department did Wheatley a favor by banning him from talking to the media,” Mike Smith from Inside PR told Crikey this morning.  “No disgraced tax evader could have done better than Gaynor in bringing down the curtain on yesterday’s media circus…[she] becomes the third life member of the club founded by Tammy Wynette and re-invented by Hilary Clinton.”  And Gaynor was busy confiding in The Oz‘s Cameron Stewart in between basting the chicken.   Today’s sympathetic follow up front pager by Stewart contained a full account of Gaynor’s day, including the revelation that when Glenn’s wife got in the car to pick him at 4.15am that morning, the “battery was dead.” 

“The neighbour had to jumpstart the car and by the time I got to the (Beechworth Correctional Centre in northeast Victoria) Glenn was like ‘I thought you had forgotten about me.'”

“Deep contrition, no excuses, no blame-shifting and a strong focus on the future and making amends. Plus a delicious dollop of bitter/sweet color with the lemon chicken line,” says Smith.  “Finally, almost on cue, a couple of popular celebrities enter stage right to underline the theme that ‘he’s-paid-the-price.'” Reports Stewart:

Even Wheatley’s best friend, singer John Farnham, got caught up in the excitement and kept calling his longtime manager for updates.

And finally, never waste the opportunity for a free plug:

[Son] Tim tried to relieve the stress for his father by playing a CD of Tim’s band Rushcutter, which Wheatley had been keen to hear for the past 10 months.