5 Of The Most Car Crash Interviews In British TV History

#2. Space Oddity

Radio X
(Photo courtesy of Radio X)

One of the most revered chat shows in British history has to be Wogan. Presented by the deadpan Northern Irish broadcaster Terry Wogan, the show has hosted many historical moments from Ronnie Corbett announcing his retirement to an unpredictable appearance from loose cannon Nicholas Cage. 

Of course, the show, over its decade-long stint, naturally saw its fair share of heated moments.  

Perhaps the most famous is the infamous David Icke interview in which Wogan mocked the conspiracy theorist and ex-Hereford goalkeeper, saying: “They’re not laughing with you; they’re laughing at you.” 

Other instances of terrible interviews include an interview with Chevy Chase in which the guest stayed silent, a heated interaction with Patti Davis (daughter of Ronald Reagan), and Anne Bancroft who used single-word answers in a stilted interview. 

Yet we will focus on perhaps the biggest name, especially in hindsight, that Wogan had difficulty with: David Bowie. At the time, Bowie was in the largely-forgotten Tin Machine band, with Wogan conducting an impromptu interview.  

Dressed in blistering green, Bowie arguably acts somewhat unprofessionally although he had to do something as a tedious Wogan effectively asked the same question in different forms, effectively asking what the deal is with this new group. Bowie cut over a question to shout out to a friend, before giving a load of semi-answers before gesturing and allowing the quiet, mic-less band members to answer. There is even a failed bit of humor that simply does not resonate. Some actually argue the interview is not that awkward although Terry later claimed:

“David Bowie, well, he probably wasn’t at his best when I interviewed him […] I thought a solid slap would have helped the situation. I didn’t hit him, of course, but it came close.” 

Bowie does not necessarily bloom in TV interviews, just look at his 1975 appearance on The Russell Harty Show. This was an interview made possible via satellite technology, with that and a lack of chemistry between the men leading to baffled looks from Bowie and cross-talk. Bowie was forced largely into one-word, monosyllabic answers.

Harty even came out with lines like: “What has brought you back, are you short of money?” and “Are you being absolutely honest and accurate when you say you are a disciplined musician?” What makes this worse is the fact the interview goes for 20 minutes, which is just too much of my life to waste watching the whole car crash in action! 

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