Richard Wilkins reveals worst celebrity interviews

Nine’s veteran entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins has named and shamed some of the more difficult celebrities he’s encountered in a new interview.

Top of the list? Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall.

Wilkins revealed in a new interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that the English singer, 62, is “probably the rudest person” he’d ever interviewed.

Wilkins explained that he’d been asked to present Hucknall with a gold record one night at a record company function while Simply Red were here on an Australian tour.

“Shook his hand, everything went all right,” Wilkins explained.

The issue came the next day, when Wilkins – then working for MTV Australia – fronted up to the since-demolished Sydney Entertainment Center to sit down for an interview with Hucknall ahead of Simply Red’s concert that night.

“I said, ‘G’day Mick’, held out my hand. He says, ‘I shook your hand last night, I don’t need to do it again’,” Wilkins revealed.

“He’s afterward divulged that he used to hit it pretty hard back in the day, so I don’t know whether he was on good stuff the night before. I remember my boss saying to me that day, ‘If anyone ever treats you like that again, just walk out the door’.”

Also on Wilkins’ list of less-than-pleasant celebs: British actor Hugh Grant. “I’ve always got on OK with Hugh Grant, but he can be very prickly,” he explained.

“And he’ll quite willingly tell you that the characters he plays are much nicer than the person he actually is. I MCed a publicity tour that he and Liz Hurley did. They were quite difficult to work with. He can be a prickly one.”

Not mentioned in the interview was Wilkins’ 2003 interview with legendary musician Prince, which he had previously named as his worst celebrity interview in his 2011 memoir Black Ties, Red Carpets, Green Rooms.

Heading backstage at Prince’s Melbourne concert to interview the star, Wilkins recounts he was told by Prince’s entourage that the chat could only proceed if Wilkins also interviewed every member of Prince’s band – and included them in the resulting TV segment.

He reluctantly agreed, only to find that the many band members weren’t in the mood for much conversation – and nor was Prince.

“Ah f**k! This was going to be an unmitigated disaster and a total embarrassment,” Wilkins wrote of the painful encounter.

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